In order to improve posture, your body must be in the “habit’ of sitting, standing and lying correctly. Interestingly enough, many factors of correct positioning have to do with the relationship between the spine and the hips. Nothing else, in my mind, seems to have as large of an impact. Let us examine these particular body parts and how exercises can build muscles which keep proper positioning of your spine and hips.
Your hips. There are basically two types of joints in your body, rotary and ball. Rotary joints can move around in a circle and a little bit side-to-side. Your knees are rotary joints. Ball joints can move in just about any direction made possible by your muscles. Your hips are ball joints and can move toward the front, back, both sides and all the way around. Consider the flexibility of the ball joints in the gymnasts’ hips. This flexibility is possible because their muscles are strong enough that their stretch reflexes allow tendons to extend, because threat of injury is not imminent.
Build your flexibility and resiliency in your hips by performing these three exercises. First, slowly and methodically lift your leg straight in front of you and, extending as far as you can while still remaining straight, rotate your leg all the way around to the back. Then, lift your leg to the back and rotate all of the way around to the front. Repeat this exercise with both legs and an even set of repetitions to both the front and the back. This lubricates your joints so that they handle injury without breaking or fracture, do not deteriorate, and it builds your hip, thigh and buttock muscles so that you do not sustain tendon injuries in case you fall.
Second, rotate your hips horizontally in a figure-eight shape. Begin with your right hip, push it forward and all the way around to the back. Then, begin with you left hip and push it forward and all of the way around the back. Repeat this process. This keeps your hip-to-spine relationship in balance and deters crooked hips.
Thirdly, rotate your hips vertically in a figure-eight shape. With your right hip, lift it up, push it out and let it drop. Then with you left hip, lift it up, push it out to the side, and push it downward. Repeat these movements. Not only are the second and third exercises used by bellydancers to maintain proper hip to spine movement and are used in the art of dance, but they also keep you from needing a chiropractor so often and you will walk more gracefully and naturally after doing them on a daily basis.
Your spine. Your spine needs movement and, for that matter, it needs a LOT of movement. Keep your spine limber, in shape and feeling comfortable and relaxed by performing these two exercises.
First, keeping your legs straight and your hips relaxed, bend all the way forward as far as you can go, moving your spine vertebra by vertebra. Then, still keeping your knees, hips and legs in line, rotate all of the way around, leaning to the side, then the back, then the other side, and finally back around to the front. It is more important that you do not shift your hips side-to-side then that you lean over very far. This keeps your spine limber and helps to line up your entire body.
Second, doing Lats and Traps (Latissimus dorsi, Trapezius) exercises will keep your spine in shape and build muscles which will naturally keep you sitting and standing properly. Your Lats are a fan of muscles on either side of your spine on your back which extend upwards toward your shoulder blades and end underneath each arm. Your Traps are muscles which spread along your spine in the back, above your Lats, reaching as far as your upper neck, and which extend across your shoulder blades and end at the point on top of your shoulder. Perform exercises in a gym on a Lat machine, where you sit down and pull a bar down from overhead to in front of your head and behind your head. Use weights when possible. If you do not have access to a gym, use lightweight dumbbells and begin with your arms at a right angle and your forearms pointing up. Then, slowly, rotate your hands and arms inward while lifting straight overhead and straightening your arms. This will also work out your Lats and Traps.
Building proper posture is important, but sometimes we forget to sit and stand correctly. When this is the case, it is important to have skeletal movement and strong muscles in place to help us out anyway. Soon, you will feel much better due to your newfound posture!
http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=61, American Chiropractic Association