No products in the cart.
So here we are, at the end of our journey to understanding posture. This is Part V of this blog series, and will conclude the previous informative parts with some solutions, tips, and considerations.
The most important message to the reader is that every human has the ability to help themselves. Sure, there are many degrees of suffering, and of course there is a realistic scale regarding the level of self-help one can achieve. But, if you understand that posture dictates your Blue Print, then you must agree that to some degree, and to some level, we all can take the steps to increase our health, wellness, and vitality. Small changes can make big differences.
Educated choices yield positive results, thus create good habits. Poor choices, whether knowingly or unknowingly, yields frustration, noncompliance towards goals, and sets us up for failure. Knowing is half the battle as they say and I will continue to blog, post, and update our website with information to help you start fixing the leaks in your vitality bank so you can live a longer and healthier life, naturally.
In Part IV I promised to show you how to get rid of some bad habits, what to eliminate from your workout routines, and where to start if you never have exercised before. Of course this section could be a book in and of itself. However, here are the basics which happen to also be the most important. With that being said here are some Postural tips.
1) When sitting, always sit on your butt bones. It is not about sitting upright at “attention”, nor is it about sitting at the front or back of the chair. It simply is creating a pelvic tilt before you sit. In other words, picture your pelvis as a bucket of water…Now, as you sit, dump that water out of the bucket in front of you. The result should be sitting on the butt bones on top of your hamstrings rather than on the “rear end”. Sitting on the meat of your buttocks will tuck your tailbone underneath you resulting in a “C” spine. This flattens out the natural curve of your lumbar, as well as your cervical spine.
If your day requires a lot of sitting, chances are you are working at a desk. Make sure you have elbow support and the computer screen is directly in front of you so that your eyes follow your body which is straight ahead. Get up every 20 minutes or so and walk around. When you return to sitting, make sure to sit in your chair with that bucket dumping water out of the front of your body.
2) When Standing try to lift your sternum or breastbone up. In other words stand with a proud chest like a lion. This allows your zone of opposition to be in a more efficient position so that your diaphragm can work optimally. It also brings your head back so that it sits on top of your shoulders rather than out in front of you. Try to imagine a string is connected to the top of your head pulling you up to the sky. This will make your chin tuck down and in slightly so that your eyes are level and looking forward.
Engage your abdominal muscles to prevent the pelvis from tilting or rolling forward. Let your arms hang down by your sides with the thumbs pointed forward. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart with a very slight duck foot angle. Ultimately the ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should be aligned where a vertical line could be drawn and intersect those points.
3) Walking posture is very similar to the standing posture with a few added cues. Continuing to hold your head high with a proud chest, you now want to make sure that the elbows are bent to about 90 degrees. As you walk, swing your arms back and forth through the shoulder, making sure to keep those elbows bent. Your feet will be underneath your hips and pointed forward. Each step you take should be a smooth heel-to-toe shift in weight. Make sure you continue to look straight ahead and not down at the ground.
4) Sleeping posture is never easy to maintain. It is best to sleep on your back with your arms down by your side. There are many types of special pillows you can buy that will support the cervical spine but not allow your head to be elevated…or you could try using a P-Knot. Using a pillow that lifts your head essentially has you looking down the entire night and can create a lot of neck pain and headaches over time. It is also good to add a pillow underneath your knees to allow for a slight bend.
If you are a side sleeper, putting a pillow between your thighs will keep your hips aligned. Same as sleeping on your back, you will want a slight bend in the knees, but not enough to be in a fetal position. Try to adjust your head pillow to keep your cervical spine supported but not lifting your head off the bed. This would prevent you from a lateral head tilt all night. Your arms should be somewhat stacked with an elbow bend to them.
5) Are about to engage in exercise for the first time? I would suggest that you start with Self Myofascial Release for the first couple of weeks. After the first couple of weeks, continue to engage in SMR, but start adding in yoga. Folks, Rome was not built in a day. If you have never exercised before, you really want to start by building a solid foundation to your movement patterns, joint range of motion, mobility/flexibility, and bodily kinesthetics before taking steps to a more vigorous routine.
I say vigorous but P-Knotting and Yoga can be quite intense by themselves. So what I am really saying is, make sure you have prepared your body for more “traditional” workout routines. Want to start a cardio/conditioning routine, train CrossFit, or lift weights? I suggest strongly you find a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist to show you the correct techniques.
Once you learn something incorrect, it is tough to break old habits. It may cost you money, but you should justify the cost of learning how to do things right vs the cost of undoing the damage your body potentially could endure from doing it wrong. Seeking out someone with a CSCS will educate you on program design, volume, intensity, duration, nutrition, recovery, and a lot more than you would think. You are not hiring a personal trainer; you are hiring a teacher who will set you free to work on your own once you have learned the basics. Again this is something I strongly recommend if you have never exercised before.
Well folks, like I said this section could be a book. Instead I shall follow up with some blogs on different exercise techniques, supplementations to treadmill work, and other ideas to help correct your posture so that you can go from the ugly, to the good. Thanks for reading my five part series on Posture: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Hope you learned a thing or two. I sure hope you are sitting somewhat correctly while reading these last few words. Be Well folks, and Drink Water.