The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on September 22, 2002 · Page 49
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 49

Hays, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Page 49
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itSmart BY STEPHANIE OAKES Posture pointers W E SPEND so much time slouched in front of the computer, TV and steeling wheel that it's worth being reminded about the importance of posture. The essence of good posture is a natural skeletal balance maintained by muscles strong enough to hold everything in place. It is almost impossible to have good posture and not be fit. The back and abdominal muscles must be strong and flexible to support the spine, so strengthening and stretching are key. Pilates, yoga, tai chi and other "core- based" exercise classes do both. More tips: • Stability balls (a k a Swiss balls) work the trunk, or core, muscles. Try to stabilize the ball for 30 to 45 seconds while in a plank position (arms extended straight above the ball as if doing a push-up); doing so gives all the core muscles an intense workout. Make sure the ball you use is the correct size for your height. • Weight-bearing exercises (including walking, running, hiking, aerobics and stair climbing) work directly on the bones in the lower spine, hips and legs to help reduce mineral loss, which can cause compression fractures in the spine and contribute to osteoporosis. Try to do a weight-bearing activity every day. • Regular weight training helps preserve and build bone density. Putting stress on the bones during physical activity encourages them to increase their calcium content, making them stronger, denser and less prone to injury. When you lift weights to improve your posture, concentrate on strengthening the rhomboid muscles (the ones between your shoulders). One method: Sit in a chair and lean forward so your chest rests on your thighs. Stretch out your arms to the side and turn them, with elbows and thumbs pointed to the ceiling. Then lift your arms to make the tips of your thumbs meet, ca USA WEEKEND-Sept. 20-22,2002 5

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