Date Published: 13 August 2005

Advice about the Perfect Poolside Posture - from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

Do you lack confidence about how you look on the beach ?

Chartered physiotherapists have come up with simple postural techniques that will help boost your self-image instantly - and can do you good in the long term !

To help men and women get over the dread of donning their swimwear this summer, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has produced a new guide listing seven quick and easy ways you can create the illusion of a toned, fitter body ensuring you feel confident enough to hit the beach with pride.

'We see lots of images of celebrities on the beach in their bikinis and trunks; and more recently in Speedos, but you don't have to be skinny to feel confident in your swimwear,' says chartered physiotherapist Sammy Margo.
'By following the CSP's quick and easy steps, you can instantly 'look' fitter. These exercises are designed to firm up your muscles and minimise the risk of other conditions, such as back, neck and shoulder pain, and incontinence.'

The CSP's tips are straightforward and require no special equipment. They are easy enough to integrate into daily life and can help you retain good postural health and muscle tone in important areas. Sammy says:

'The guide is especially useful for anyone who has put off preparing their body for their annual fortnight on the beach. You can start today and help your confidence this summer. And even after your summer holiday, with practise, you can keep that healthy body all year round.'

The Basics :

  • Good posture means keeping your body in correct alignment by maintaining the natural curves of the spinal structure when sitting, standing or lying down. It is essential when it comes to warding off back pain and related disorders.
  • You are looking to strengthen your weak, long muscles e.g. tummy muscles. Many of us are guilty of mismanaging our posture through slumping at our workstations or while watching TV.
  • You are looking to lengthen any short, tight muscles e.g. pectoral muscles, such as those around the front of your shoulders.

Following these steps will help improve posture, and as a result, you will look and feel fitter. You'll also minimise stresses and strains on your joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles and discs.

Seven instant steps to a healthy looking body :

Tip One: Length
Standing in front of a full length mirror with your back against a wall and feet flat on the ground, try to stand as tall as you possibly can. This should be your natural standing (and walking) posture.
Lengthening the spine and elongating your body will add an inch or two to your height. This can make you look longer, leaner and fitter!

Tip Two: Width
Many of us slump with our shoulders rolled forward. While standing, roll your shoulders outwards so that your thumbs are facing backwards. Push your shoulder blades back and down. Try to increase the distance between the shoulders.
This will make you look taller and leaner. This exercise will also help reduce the possibility of shoulder and neck pain.

Tip Three: Flat
Pull your tummy muscles in whilst standing in the lengthened position. Then release them by 70% so that your tummy muscles are still engaged.
This will help improve the tone of your tummy muscles and reduce the possibility of lower back pain.

Tip Four: Below the belt Part One
Engage your pelvic floor area as if you are preventing yourself from passing urine. Try to hold this contraction for as long as possible. You should do this exercise regularly throughout the day.
This helps to flatten your lower abdominal muscles. Working your pelvic floor muscles also helps to minimise the risk of developing incontinence. It is recommended you hold the contraction for 10 seconds at a time. As you get used to this, your aim is to increase the length of time of each contraction.

Tip Five: Below the belt Part Two
Engage your buttock muscles as though you are preventing yourself from breaking wind. Intersperse the contraction with buttock squeezes.
In the short term, this will give the appearance of more toned buttock muscles. In the long term, it will contribute to keeping your pelvic girdle strong, thereby minimising the risk of incontinence.

Tip Six: Confidence
Getting your posture right can give the illusion of a better looking body. Being confident about your appearance will make your body look even better.
Not only will you look great for the beach, these tips can help you in the long term preventing back, neck and shoulder pain and incontinence.

Tip Seven: Practise
Carrying out these tips regularly is the key to improvement. Practise these tips every day until they become second nature.

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