Week Six: Posture & Stretching

Week 6: Posture & Stretching

Do you have good or bad posture?
As you are reading this, how is your posture right now?
Are you sitting upright?
Are you slouching your back?

Have you totally sunken into your chair?

Why have a good posture?

Good posture balances the workload of our muscles, limbs, and joints, while poor posture may cause fatigue, muscle strain, compression of blood vessels, and pain.

Our posture can also affect the function of our major organs too.

Our posture represents our lifestyle.

How we stand, how we sit, how we sleep, are affected by our posture.

So, what is good posture?

Good posture is all about keeping the natural curves of our spines when standing, sitting, or lying.

When these curves are in their resting or neutral state, they experience the least strain.

Primary causes of Imbalance and postural problems are mainly due to a sedentary lifestyle…

or put another way… being a Couch Potato

Ideally (from the back view), the spine should have no lateral curvature and the legs should be symmetrical without undueangulation at the knees or ankles. From a side view the spine should form a smooth S-shaped curve bisected by an imaginary plumb line dropped from the apex (or tip) of the head through to the centre of gravity of the body.
This same plumb line should pass through the tip of the shoulder, the centre of the hip joint and ankle joint and slightly behind the knee joint. With this ideal alignment the body weight is balanced over the spine and lower extremity joints requiring minimum muscular effort. This alignment also evenly distributes pressure on the intervertebral discs ( lie between the spine) and avoids excessive stress on the ligaments.

Your Sitting Position

The sitting position is where most people get into trouble with their posture. This is especially true when we drive or do a desk job.

As we focus on the activities in front of us we tend to protrude the head and neck forward.

And because the body follows the head, the twelve segments that compose the middle of the vertebral column (thoracic), and the largest segments of the movable part of the vertebral column (the lumbar spine) tends to round forward as well.

When this occurs, the weight of the head and the upper body is no longer balanced over the spinal column, but instead must be supported by increased muscular energy and placing spinal ligaments in a stretch.

Over time this leads to fatigue and eventually even pain in the neck and upper back. Shoulders rounded forward which occurs for example when your car seat is too far away from the steering wheel further contributes to this pattern of imbalance. Ideally then, the S-shaped curvature of the spine that is characteristic of good standing posture should be maintained in sitting as well.

Correct Seating position

This is best accomplished by sitting all the way back in a straight-backed chair and placing a folded towel or small pillow in the arch of the lower back. Fortunately, many new office chairs and car seats come with built-in lumbar supports and other adjustable features. Sitting and standing with proper postural alignment will allow you to work more efficiently with less fatigue and strain on your body’s ligaments and muscles. Being aware of good posture is the first step to breaking old poor postural habits as well as reducing stress and strain on your spine.

Common posture problem

When a muscle is shortened for a prolonged period of time it will become tight (which really means it will become shorter than it is supposed to be). When a muscle is shorter than the optimal length, it not only effects the opposing muscle but can have influence on the entire bone structure (musculoskeletal system). Some common muscles which cause the most posture problems.

Tight hip flexors are major cause of many posture problems. When it is subjected to long hours of being seated the hip flexors become shortened. When the hip flexors are shortened they cause the pelvis to rotate anterior (forward).

You can see the influence of anterior (front) pelvic tilt on skeletal alignment. The spine becomes excessively arched and the thoracic spine develops a kyphotic (rounded/hunch back) alignment. Forward head posture can result because of this as well. Tight hip flexors can begin to do the abdominals work, and make it almost impossible to get benefit out of some abs workout. Tight hip flexors causes the primary hip extensors the gluteus maximus (largest part of the bum) to become lengthened and weak. This is because of the agonist-antagonist relationship which means the glutes and hip flexors are opposing muscles. When the primary hip extensors become weak the synergist (helper) muscle takes over causing further problems.

What about Tight Hamstrings?

When you stand, the muscles are lengthened. Even sitting in a good posture shortens the hamstrings. Sitting for long periods of time, will be prone to chronic hamstring tightness. There are a few posture problems associated with tight hamstrings. If the hip flexors are tight, the hamstrings will become your primary hip extensor (extend). The hamstrings are supposed to be the synergist (assist) but become the prime mover. This is called synergistic dominance which increases the chances of injury. It is easy to see why synergistic dominance increases the chances of injury. The gluteus maximus (largest part of the bum) the largest muscle in the body. If the gluteus maximus cannot extend the hip, the hamstrings which are not as powerful as the glutes are forced to do more work than they are designed for. Having a tight hamstrings will make it difficult to work and get results with your leg and glutes. Hamstrings tightness can make you prone to pulled hamstrings, and sciatica.

Another muscle imbalance caused by a sedentary lifestyle is forward shoulder, also called the upper cross syndrome. Poor exercise selection can also develop forward shoulders. If you suffer from this muscle imbalance and are not able to retract (draw back) your shoulders, which is common in many people, you should start a corrective flexibility program.

If you have any of these posture problems it is best to see a specialist such as a personal trainer, chiropractor or exercise physiologist. There are a few tests in a which a professional can use to diagnose specific posture problems.

How to improve posture?

Strengthen the Core
Fix Rounded Shoulders
Corrective Flexibility

Type of Stretching

Static stretching is the most common type of stretching. You gently assume a stretch position and hold it for 30 to 60 seconds. There is no bouncing or rapid movement. You should feel a mild pulling sensation, but no pain. You should feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle, not in the joints. A simple static stretch provide a large benefits towards your body and posture.

Benefits of stretching

  • Increase flexibility
  • Better posture
  • Decrease pain in muscle joint
  • Enhance coordination
  • Reduce stress

Action Plan

Practice good posture
Do stretches total of 20min on a daily basis
Attend Pilates classes (Optional)

Whats on next week:
Resistance Training

Sources & Images are courtesy of :

Learn More About Healthy Lifestyle:

Week 1: Healthy Lifestyles “It’s Now Or Never”

Week 2: Healthy Lifestyles “The First Step”

Week 3: Healthy Lifestyles “The Food Pyramid”

Week 4: Healthy Lifestyles “Target Heart Rate”

Week 5: Healthy Lifestyles “The Benefit of Exercise”

Week 6: Healthy Lifestyle ” Posture & Stretching”

Week 7: Resistance Training

Week 8:  Preventing Injuries

Week  9Boost Your Weight Loss

Week 10: Healthy Lifestyle the way to Life

Week  11: the trilogy of Healthy Lifestyle succes

To Contact Fitness Coach Kmaru:


Muscle activation


Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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