Good tube posture

Thursday 9th June, 2016

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The long commute doesn't have to be a waste of time - take the chance to train your posture. Alexander Technique specialists Antonella Cavallone and Brita Forsstrom advise.

Image: Flickr, Annie Mole

• Don’t brace yourself against movement. Allow yourself to move with the tube/bus and actually ‘ride’ the transport

• Stand with your feet hip-width apart, if you can, and let your knees and hips bend in a slightly loose, free way

• Think tall: try to align your pelvis with the crown of your head, which lets your spine decompress

• Think wide: feel your body expand, and you’ll get a bit more space without pushing anyone

• Don’t let your shoulders hunch up towards your ears. Let them gently drop, and broaden

• Allow your feet to ground you: let the toes release from the heel, and the heel from the ankle, making the soles wider and giving you a better standing base

• Think of your toes lengthening, the way you would spread your fingers

• Don’t tilt your head downwards to read or use your phone – that will overburden your neck and spine. Lift the device, or look downwards instead

• Move your head from side to side, touching your ear to your shoulder on both sides, to keep the neck joints limber

• When you can, extend your arms and push your chest forward, encouraging muscle stretch and good posture

• If possible, don’t carry your bag - put it on the floor between your feet. This gives your back a rest, improves your balance and stance, saves space, and annoys your fellow commuters less

Image: Flickr, Bob Vonderau

• Don’t throw yourself heavily into a seat, no matter how tired you are. Ease into it, making the most of the back and leg support

• Don’t slouch and sit towards the back, but sit slightly forward

• Avoid ‘lying down’ in the seat. It may look comfortable, but it actually compresses the discs in the spine and strains the neck and hip joints

• Don’t hold on to anything that causes your body to twist. Move so that you’re reaching directly forward, or out to the side

• Keep moving as much as possible - up and down the platform, or the carriage, or when changing lines. This is especially good for people with office jobs, who spend the majority of their working day sitting down

• Give your seat to someone who needs it more than you – it’s a good karmic deed, and standing burns more calories!