How’s Your Alignment Looking??

By Lynne Olsen, Certified Personal Trainer

“ . . . let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”
– Theodore Roosevelt, 1898

The word, “alignment” means the proper positioning or adjustment of parts in relation to one another (Merriam-Webster, 2014). We get our car tires aligned to keep our vehicles running smoothly and to lengthen the life span of our tires. No one wants to end up stranded or have a bumpy, inefficient ride. Alignment of the human body serves the same purpose. Properly aligning our skeleton means we breathe more easily, move more efficiently, and limit our chances for injury. That is to say, we can lengthen our life span and have a less bumpy, more enjoyable ride.

When it comes to playing sports, working out, or performing any physical activity, we often lose sight of form and alignment. Our focus becomes, scoring the point, pressing 20 lbs. more, achieving the “perfect” yoga pose, or lifting the heavy box . . . and we will do it at all costs; even herniated discs and pulled muscles.
Generally, proper alignment means, “stacking” the head over the spine and the shoulders over the hips, knees and ankles. Here are a few rules to help keep you aligned and running smoothly:

• When sitting in a chair, try to keep your hips and knees at the same level. Maintain a subtle natural inward curve at your low back and sit tall and upright. When standing up from a chair, move your hips forward to the edge of the chair and use your leg muscles to stand.

• When standing, keep your head stacked over your heart and your heart over the center of your pelvis. Draw your shoulder blades gently toward one another. Maintain the natural arch of your low back as you draw your belly button toward your spine. Your feet should point directly ahead with your kneecaps in line with your middle toes.

• Alignment becomes only a little bit more complicated when we add movements such as twisting and bending. The basic principles still apply.

To learn more, or to make sure that you’re moving in proper alignment, find a personal trainer, coach, or yoga instructor that you trust. Proper alignment means that you will lessen your chance for injury, function with less pain, and move with greater strength & ease.

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