I’m just like you. I slouch at my computer or while watching TV, forget to stand up straight when standing around (in line at the grocery store or movie theater), or don’t take an inventory of my body when I am doing chores around the house. I can go for days without paying attention to how I am sitting, standing, or moving.
After all, I have a life to live, and constant vigilance can be a drag. And, so far, so good. Nothing really bad has happened to me because I don’t always sit around in optimal alignment. Perhaps you are thinking the same thing.
But is that really true? Take a minute to think about the areas of your body that ache or hurt at times. Low back? Neck? Hips? Knees? Shoulders?
In a nutshell: good posture = muscle balance = good movement. Taking it a bit further, you could add PAIN FREE movement in a lot of cases. Of course sometimes there are other reasons why your body hurts. There’s genetic misalignments, wear and tear, previous injury and scar tissue, certain diseases. But we can go long way to alleviate some chronic aches and pains by working on posture.
Here’s just a few trickle down effects from having good posture:
- Less chance of injury when exercising. There is no way to express how HUGE this is. When muscles are in chronic misalignment, they don’t work together as well as they are meant to. That means that it takes less of a stress or strain to cause an injury. Oftentimes the aches and pains we experience are little injuries that have already happened because of poor posture.
- Your joints move more freely and you are more flexible. For instance, correction of rounded shoulders means that you can reach behind you more easily, as in reaching from the driver’s seat of your car to get something out of the back seat. Or, correcting an exaggerated forward tilt of your pelvis can alleviate back pain and even make your walking stride more comfortable and efficient.
- Your balance improves. Really. This can happen. As I said before, when your body is out of alignment, muscles don’t work together as they are meant to. Better alignment makes it easier for your body to hold a position against gravity without working extra hard to keep you upright. Not convinced? Try it. Stand up in your regular comfortable position. Now balance on one leg and see how it feels and how long you can do it. Next, take a moment to lengthen your body by imagining a string coming out the top of your head that draws you toward the ceiling. Draw in your abdominals, and lift your chest to bring your shoulders back. Balance again. You will probably feel more in control of your balance now, and can stand on one foot for longer.
These are but a few reasons to integrate a body assessment, starting with posture, into an exercise program. Often if you join a gym and have some sessions with a trainer, the assessment they use is to find out how strong you are or how long you can stay on the elliptical or treadmill.
Instead, Design for Fitness is about giving you the tools to:
- Get you started on exercise that is right for you and your body.
- Give you ways to improve through a proven progression of building blocks.
- Make simple but meaningful changes that you will feel right away (for a little instant gratification).
- Keep you motivated to move forward because the tools will be making you feel better.
- Give you the information you need to make smart choices about your fitness.
One final note: Often being able to improve our posture isn’t always as easy as just remembering to sit up or stand straight. Stretching, strengthening, and mobilization of muscles and joints is involved. In fact, most of the tools and progression blocks in Design for Fitness is geared to this important bottom line one way or another.
Contact me to discuss how you can improve your posture and fitness.
So stay tuned, and thanks for reading! Please pass this along to anyone you think may be trying to improve their relationship with this very important part of our lives.
© 2016 Kristen Carter. All rights reserved.