It’s likely that you already know that good posture is important. For instance, you might have heard that it will help you look more confident or may reduce your nagging neck or back pain.
What you might not know is that good posture is not about standing up straight and that there is no one correct way to sit or stand to reduce back pain. In fact, the purpose of posture is less about maintaining a specific spinal alignment and more about how easily and comfortably you can move through different positions during activities of daily life and exercise.
The relationship between posture and back or neck pain
Good posture is often thought of as when you are sitting or standing up straight and you may have been told that if you are able to do this, then you will have less neck and back pain and will reduce the wear and tear on your joints.
However, science is now finding that this isn’t exactly how it works. In fact, there is now evidence showing that being slumped forward will not result in an increased risk of back pain or injury. Conversely, having “good” upright posture won’t prevent you from experiencing pain or injury either!
Rather, it’s now thought that back and neck pain that is commonly associated with standing or sitting has less to do with your body being in a hunched position and more to do with staying in the same static position for too long.
Knowing this, an effective solution is to exercise in a way that helps you strengthen your body in positions that are different from the one that you most commonly sit or stand in. This is also why when you work on posture centered exercises, you may feel like it’s easier to stand or sit tall without working so hard or you may experience less joint discomfort. It’s not that the rounded back posture is dangerous or bad. It’s just that our bodies feel best when we are strong in all directions, which requires moving in a variety of ways!
How to effectively train for better posture using the Pilates Reformer
With this in mind, you might be wondering, how can you effectively improve your posture and can the Pilates Reformer help?
As previously mentioned, posture is less about adopting one ideal position and is more about the ability to sense the position of your head relative to your ribs or pelvis and for your body to be able to quickly respond when you change positions, such as when you roll to seated to get out of bed or when you stand up out of a chair.
Below are some of the ways that the Pilates Reformer is uniquely effective for improving posture:
Exercises on the Pilates Reformer teach you how to sense the position of your torso in multiple body positions.
When you practice Pilates on the Reformer, you will often move through a number of body positions, including lying on your back, side lying, kneeling, sitting, and standing.
The Pilates Reformer provides an opportunity for you to move your spine in all of the directions that you can’t explore when sitting at work.
One reason why you might experience back or neck pain after long bouts of sitting is because you’ve been in one position for a long period of time. Moving your spine mindfully through a variety of positions, including flexion, rotation, side bending, and extension can improve flexibility and reduce that feeling of discomfort.
Additionally, it may help you look like you’re standing up straight without you even having to think about it. This is because our posture often is simply a reflection of the body positions that we most frequently practice and are less a reflection of something that is wrong with us.
The Pilates Reformer is a full body workout that helps you build strength in all directions.
Modern daily life requires moving through a limited number of positions and typically involves a series of tasks where we move very little with our arms in front of us. For better or worse, we are only strong in the movements and positions that we train.
The Pilates Reformer provides a full body workout that allows you to train all of your muscle groups through full body movement. This helps promote uniform muscle development in the front and back of your body to balance out the effects of sitting for long periods of time and support you during activities, such as golf, running, and tennis.
In fact, nearly every exercise that you might practice in the gym can be replicated on the Pilates Reformer. This includes, but is not limited to, squats, lunges, rows, bicep curls, and triceps extensions, and even pull-ups.
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