Correct posture is something you should always strive to maintain. Whether you are walking, lifting a piece of luggage, working with a computer, just watching TV, lying in bed – whatever you are doing -- good posture is important. It's one of the things learned in grade school but probably taken for granted. Now here's a chance to learn it all again.
Proper posture basically means aligning and positioning your body so that no part is unduly getting physical stress or taking too much load. Because gravity is the ever-present force around, standing straight often means distributing your own weight as evenly as possible.
Poor posture has many unpleasant results. Because of it you tend to tire easily and to strain yourself. Often this manifests as back aches, stiff necks, and muscle soreness. In extreme cases involving motion, it can contribute to more serious things such as sprains and spinal injury. Conversely, observing the correct stance not only avoids these unwanted but preventable injuries and pains, but also helps you work and move efficiently and effortlessly. In addition, you feel taller and healthier, even slimmer, and you find that your clothes fit you better.
Abdominal Muscles and Good Posture
The spine and pelvis are the parts of our body that are prone to the effects of gravity. Hence, it is important that posture help to prevent them from becoming overloaded. To help support this, the development of abdominal muscles is emphasized to maintain good posture for keeping the spine and pelvis safe and in good health.
Basically, abdominal muscles run the length your trunk and torso. They have two important functions: stabilization of the spine and pelvis and transfer of force and energy to the arms and legs. Below is a list of some of these muscles:
• Rectus Abdominis. The best known abdominal muscle, called "six-pack" due to its appearance, is found in front of the abdomen.
• Erector Spinae are three muscles that connects your neck to your lower back.
• Multifidus Found under the erector spinae and running along the vertebral column, these muscles are responsible for extending and rotating the spine.
• External and Internal Obliques. These are found on the side and front of the abdomen, one under the other and running in opposite directions.
• Transverse Abdominis. Found deep in the abdomen, it wraps around your spine.
• Hip Flexors. These are found in front of the pelvis and connected to the upper thighs.
Exercises for the Abdominal Muscles and Their Benefits
• Standard Crunch. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Without moving your head, lift your shoulders and move your ribs towards your hips. You may put your hands on your chest, the side of your head or above, thereby increasing the difficulty of the exercise. Do this slowly, taking 2 seconds going up, holding the raised position of the chest for 2 seconds, and then going down for another 2 seconds. This exercise targets the rectus abdominis.
• Reverse Curl. This exercise targets the lower fibers of the rectus abdominis as well as the obliques. To do this, lie on your back and slowly bring your knees towards your chest without raising your hips from the floor. Then, contracting your abdominal muscles, gradually lift your hips to bring your knees to your chest. The easy version is with the hands on floor. The difficult version requires the elbows on the floor and your hands in the air.
• Combination Crunch. This exercise combines the two previously described exercises