Remember back in October (2015) when I wrote 3 articles on perfecting your posture?
Well, I continually work on it (straightening my neck; walking with my back leg more extended) and with great effect. Now I only get shoulder and neck tension if I do something crazy like 50 pushups in a day. And my recovery time is much quicker.
But it did not happen overnight. It took probably 2 or 3 months of re-training my muscle memory to get it. The first few weeks are great. You’re like “I’ve got this!” And then the next day you wake up with your chin jutted out again and your neck vertebrae all scrunched up. Back to it. Never give up. Straighten that neck. Reach your head high. Tuck the chin. Even when you’re sleeping, stretch your neck up nice and long. “Sleep-stretching.”
The first few weeks of re-learning how to walk were rough. My hip was constantly tight and painful. But stay with it – I did. Now I barely notice my hip which is a good thing. Walking feels like a nice stretching workout. Stretch the hips and work the glutes.
Doing yoga with these postural changes in mind was also an eye-opener. Try downward dog keeping your ribs tucked in. Yoga instructors would always say, “keep your back straight,” but I never really got what that meant until I understood the concept of keeping the ribs tucked in. Push the bottom of your ribs in (tuck it in using your abdominal oblique muscles, but tuck literally with your hands at first to get the idea) until your spine can be nice and straight. Now breathe! Ah! More room for air to enter is a good thing. I can feel how tucking the ribs actually gives you more room in your lower abdomen too.
Holding a heavy load? Heavy purse or child perhaps? Keep your shoulders down. Resist the temptation to raise your shoulder to lift the load. Let the load weigh your shoulder down. Lift up only with your spine (via tucking the ribs). Your shoulders always stay down and back.
While driving I have to keep the back rest of my truck more upright in order to have the correct angle for my hips. Hips go back as far as possible into the seat, then you stack your spine straight on top. If the seat is too leaned back, I tend to tuck my pelvis under too much and then my lower back hurts.
Also, running: have you tried running with the correct posture? It’s awesome! It’s the same principles as the walking, but faster. Each step you push off with your back leg. Next thing you know, you’re passing everyone on the Town Lake hike and bike trail.
Oh, and I can’t forget my absolute favorite: the “inner corset.” Someone asked me where you can buy one of those. Good news: it’s just your oblique muscles; no purchase necessary! While lifting anything, heck even just sitting in your office chair after a while or when you’re brushing your teeth, “brace” your back by flexing those obliques to hold yourself in proper position. My biggest challenge here is my work: I’m constantly bending over to put needles in / take needles out. It’s worth the time to remember the inner corset.
One more thing: I used to lock my knees when I stood. I stopped that habit and now my old cranky knees have been all but forgotten.
What have you noticed in your daily life change with these postural changes? Anything interesting?