One of our favorite sayings in 8 Weeks to Wellness is actually an old saying, “Posture follows movement like a shadow”. First introduced by English Physiologist Charles Sherrington in 1922. What does that mean? Well, our posture will not only determine how we look, nobody wants a big hump in their back, but also how we move as we age. I believe that posture and alignment are one of the most overlooked yet significant aspects of great health.
Your posture is the direct reflection of the alignment of your spine, and since posture is the “effect” of good alignment, and alignment can be changed, the good news is that you have direct control over your posture. So follow these five tips and you will not only look better, you will move better, feel better and age better.
Be aware of your alignment. One exercise I have patients do is to stand against a wall with their head, shoulder blades, butt and heels against the wall. Then I ask them to keep their spine in that alignment and tip toe away from the wall. Does that feel different I ask them. “Wow, YES” they normally tell me. Well, that wall is in better alignment than your spine. Use the wall as a reference for good vertical posture and alignment. Make that feeling of standing against the wall the new norm for your posture. Is your head arriving to your destination a lot earlier than the rest of your body?
Stop texting with your head in flexion, kids especially. “Text Neck” is a new condition due to how much we are using our phones. Bring the phone up to a neutral eye level. Don’t flex your neck forward, it causes forward head posture which eventually leads to bad posture and can put up to 60lbs. of pressure into your neck.
Use a standing desk. I recently got a “VariDesk” which sits on my traditional desk and allows me to stand while I work. I LOVE it. If we were meant to sit for long periods of time, we would have 4 legs like a chair instead of two. If you sit for a living or for more than 5 hours a day, get a standing desk.
Strengthen and Lengthen your core. Our alignment is only as good as our core strength and flexibility. If we have weak abdominals, weak gluts and weak spinal muscles, there is no way we can have good posture, for it is our core that supports us upright against gravity. Most patients we test have extremely weak core muscles.
Learn our “Posture Prep” exercises. At Wellness Solution Centers, we’ve developed a series of core strengthening and core lengthening (stretching) series of exercises that we call “Posture Prep”. The changes we see when we combine the Posture Prep series with Chiropractic Adjustments is amazing and the before and after pictures speak for themselves.
In my 25 year career as a Chiropractor, I’ve noticed that people who live “functionally” for a long time have a couple things in common and one of the big ones is that they have good posture and a good core. The ultimate rigidity in life is called “Rigor Mortis” and when we die, we will become as stiff as a board. So this is a good metaphor, life is motion, death is rigidity. When you have poor posture it affects your ability to move well and when you stop moving your core, you begin a slow decline towards stiffness and death. There is a reason we call dead people “stiffs”. So, follow these tips, take your posture, alignment and mobility seriously. The quality of your life depends on it.