expert advice on finding and maintaining the posture that’s right for you

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expert advice on finding and maintaining the posture that's right for you

What if posture had replaced gait? In the era of cool, make way for fluidity. But difficult to keep your flexibility behind the screens. Our coaching to reconnect with the body.

It may be a detail for you, but about the evolution of society, it says a lot… Among the youngest, the discourse of the body has changed. Their way of holding themselves too. Even to work… Lying down. Static, a bit rigid, straight as an I, the superwoman of the XXe century released its strength by corseting its forms. Today, the more women’s power grows, the more their attitude relaxes. Yoga? Hip hop ? The bike ? Pop-culture? Body positivism? Mixing genres? Social networks ? All of this at the same time.

And, of course, we don’t have the same “quickdraw” in baggy-sneakers as in suit-pumps. “Generation Z is organically fluid, multi-dimensional and shaped by video”, note Eric Briones and Nicolas André in the book The Z Shock (Dunod Editions). It is less steep in any case. The arms speak, the legs dance, the silhouette becomes “lankier” and reinvents itself… Flexibility is the hallmark of today’s look. Will this new cool save us scoliosis, osteoarthritis and softening? Unfortunately not.

In video, the good postures to relax on your office chair

A style that is too “chill”?

After millions of years of straightening up, is man again subject to the law of gravity? We hunker down. We hunker down. Over the past fifty years, the gradual adoption of cars and screens has upset the relationship to the body, and the pandemic has not helped matters: according to ANSES, in 2022, 95% of French adults – especially women – have a insufficient physical activity. The finding is overwhelming, and not without consequences: “Sedentariness is dramatic, explains Lorris Gellé, osteopath co-founder of the Anatomik center (1), which is opening a second Parisian address in the new well-being space of Galeries Lafayette, the Wellness Galerie. Individuals are increasingly seated, at work, in transport… Movement has become foreign to them! Beyond weight gain and cardiovascular damage, this lack of mobility creates stiffness in the tissues and a loss of muscle tone, therefore sagging.

Have a sense of righteousness

By taking care of your posture, you win on all fronts. First of all, appearance: “Having good posture is a guarantee of style, dynamism and openness, assures Véronique Schapiro-Chatenay, posture consultant (2). It is a way of respecting oneself, therefore of improving self-confidence. Before being listened to, we are seen. Growing up, straightening up, is also fighting against the laws of age that cause you to lose centimeters and bend over the years. With good support, you can easily look ten years younger!

Standing well is a guarantee of style, dynamism and openness

Véronique Shapiro-Chatenay, posture consultant

It is also to save oneself pain. Slouching creates tension in muscles and joints. We also lose tonicity of the dorsals, support of the column and vertebrae. Moreover, “when the fascias, these tissues which envelop the structures of the body (muscles, tendons, nerves, etc.) stiffen due to lack of stress, they thicken, compress the muscles and create inflammatory substances, explains Lorris Gellé. In the absence of activity, these toxins are not eliminated, which generates pain.

Last but not least, standing up opens the rib cage and frees the diaphragm: “This allows unhindered breathing, therefore better oxygenation of the body, continues the osteopath. Irrigated, the organs function better, waste is eliminated and energy circulates.”

Yellow wool jersey pants, Max Mara. Directed by Barbara Baumel. Model Nawel Okba @ Makers by Metropolitan Mary Wynants

Non-stop body scan

It’s time to reinvent our bodies and walk with our heads held high! And that starts with good daily reflexes. Because when it comes to posture, every detail counts. “At all times, the goal is to be aware of your body, explains Véronique Schapiro-Chatenay. In the long run, this effort becomes natural.”

The key points. The posture consultant has identified five, which condition the whole body and to which particular attention must be paid: the feet, which support the whole building, must be supported on the ten toes (more than on the heels) , with an upward thrust to support the arch of the foot; the pelvis, which determines the position of the back and stomach, must be tilted backwards so that the back can be stretched upwards; the bust should not be exaggeratedly curved forwards: one breathes while letting the ribs deviate laterally (not from front to back) on inspiration and come closer naturally on exhalation; the shoulders should be low to relieve the trapezius and cervical muscles; self-enlargement, finally: “Once we have understood the placement of the previous points, it is a question of placing the head like the point of the “i” and of connecting the different elements of the body in this vertical.”

Correct outfit required. Rooted feet, we push the ground. Hold your head straight, gaze horizontal, neck stretched. The shoulders, low, are at the level of the hips, the shoulder blades approach the spine. We flatten our stomach and stretch our back, the pelvis in an intermediate position. The arms hang down on each side of the body, and the legs are stretched but flexible.

Integrative gym. “Based on the key points, the ideal is to slip in small exercises on a daily basis: in the shower, on the bus…, specifies the consultant. Shoulder rotations, shifting body weight from one leg to the other, repetitive heel lifts while rising to the sky…”

Embrace Smart Movement

To improve your posture, any activity is good to take, whether it’s swimming, walking, cycling, running or kicking a ball… If only getting up regularly, walking and stretching when you rest hours on the order! But the ideal is the so-called postural gymnastics which, by combining awareness of the body and movements that respect the anatomy, intelligently compensate for the lack of activity. “The most interesting are Pilates and yoga, which engage all the muscle chains, strengthen the deep muscles that guarantee good posture, soften the tissues and oxygenate the body, assures Raynald Choquet, physical trainer and coordinator of the Anatomik centers. . But a simple thigh-abs-glute muscle strengthening course can bring almost similar benefits, provided you work more with body weight and respect good positioning, deep breathing and stretching at the end of the session. Also good: stretching which, with its long and deep stretching associated with breathing work, softens all the fascias, oxygenates the tissues and promotes better overall mobility.

Pilates and yoga that engage all the muscle chains

Raynald Choquet, physical trainer and coordinator of the Anatomik centers

Also, in the Mandarin Oriental spas, the new “Intelligent Movement”(3) program offers, in addition to activities for small groups, a cabin treatment developed in collaboration with physiotherapists and intended to support subjects suffering from posture or posture problems. mobility: “After a percussion massage intended to warm up the muscles, the practitioner offers joint movements and mobilizations adapted to the person’s ailments, then targeted stretching intended to relax and soften the muscles, explains Mélissa Braun, spa supervisor of the Parisian palace. To keep the benefits, the treatment continues back home with an advice sheet and video exercises.

Reconnect the body and the head

Man has developed in relation to the perception of his body in his environment. To behave well, you also have to train your brain and strengthen neuro-plasticity! “To gain balance, coordination, agility and proprioception (conscious or unconscious perception of the position of the different parts of the body in space), you can regularly perform playful exercises, explains Raynald Choquet. You have to work on precision, rhythmicity, frequency of gestures, double tasks, imbalance…” This can involve games of skill (ball games, shooting, hopping…), dancing, hiking on rough terrain… The idea is to put yourself in physical difficulty so that the body appeals to the head, and vice versa.

Kelly green cotton Nea blazer and Rina pants, The Frankie Shop. Body layering in lycra, The Attico. Directed by Barbara Baumel. Model Nawel Okba @ Makers by Metropolitan Mary Wynants

Finally, nothing like a little breathing, and possibly mindfulness meditation or sophrology, to tame this body, its representation in space, and thus connect, coordinate and harmonize the whole. Because a pretty posture is also a posture of a well oxygenated and zen person, in all circumstances.

Day to day grace

In the office. Stand straight, spine and lower back resting against the backrest, shoulders relaxed. We sit on both buttocks, both feet flat on the ground (no legs crossed). We set the screen slightly below the horizontal of the eyes and we bend our elbows at 90 degrees while resting on the desk (better, on armrests).

Working. We straighten up, we contract abs and buttocks, we put the chest forward, shoulders down and shoulder blades tight, we relax the arms and we look far ahead. With each step, the foot is rolled out by planting the heel in the ground and pushing on it. And no phone!

By car. Adjustments are made: the back of the seat must be almost vertical so that the back and shoulders stick to it, and the seat moved back so that the legs are neither bent nor completely stretched. We also place the mirrors to keep the neck straight. Relax your slightly bent arms, relax your shoulders and put your hands at 10:10 on the steering wheel.

At the market. Distribute the weight in several bags, keeping either the arms stretched along the body, bags at arm’s length, or the elbows bent at 90 degrees and glued to the body, bag handles at the elbow crease. With only one bag, we alternate right/left. Ideal: a trolley or a reinforced backpack.

Lycra bodysuit, Jeanne Friot. Knife pants, in matte black spandex, Balenciaga. Directed by Barbara Baumel. Model Nawel Okba @ Makers by Metropolitan. Make-up Camille Lutz. Hairdresser Olivier Lebrun. Manicure Sylvie Vacca. Photo Marie Wynants

We are mobilizing

With the yogist method (yogist.fr) and two books published at Solar (Like a yogist and Yoga breaks)Anne-Charlotte Vuccino flies to the aid of employees screwed to their PC.

For the neck, we make the ostrich. We sit comfortably, the knees at 90 degrees, we put the elbows on the knees. We exhale by lowering the chin towards the chest and we let the back of the neck lengthen. We breathe 5 times in this position, before straightening the head and the back on an inspiration.

For the upper back, the cow’s head. We sit on the edge of the chair. We inhale, we raise the right arm towards the sky and we bend it to put the right hand between the shoulder blades, elbow pointing towards the ceiling. We bend the left arm down and raise the left hand towards the middle of the back. We try to crochet the fingers of the hands behind the back or, if there is too much of a gap, we place one end of the belt in each hand. Gently pull upwards, then downwards, to feel the stretch in the arms, shoulders and back. We breathe deeply 5 times in this posture. We relax and then we change sides.

(1) Other address: 29, place du Marché-Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris. anatomikparis.com
(2) Author of 1 hour to look good (Éd. Leduc-s) and My express gym (Ed. Larousse). relookingcorporel.com
(3) mandarinoriental.com

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