Hello and welcome to our blog! Today, we are talking posture. You’ve probably heard ideas concerning good posture all your life, but let's dive a little deeper into this subject and share some helpful tips along the way.
How many times have you heard you should, “sit up straight?” and found yourself unthinkingly straightening up to play the part, yet, it never seems to stick.
Do you ever question why we slump? Or taking it a step further, why we consider slumping to be unproductive? Believe it or not, as kids and babies we did not have the sense of society bearing down on us, and our natural ability to hold a neutral posture was too easy! This allowed us to have better control over our ability to look around us, move with stability, and even breathe better!
Fast forward to desk jobs, studying for tests, reading in the early mornings and late evenings - we have developed habits that pull us out of that neutral position. All these new habits often leave us with our heads pushed forward and our shoulders rolled over to the front as well.
This new position means it’s decision time for our bodies: keep our childlike proper posture, or change our anatomy to this new position, which ultimately leads to new problems.
These problems often present as neck pain, tight upper back pain, breathing difficulties that lead to tight muscles at the front base of our neck. So, how can we solve this?
As much as we would love to say the solution to your troubles is simple, consider how long it took for our bodies to develop these new positions - it's also going to take time to rebuild better ones!
Ready to get started? Let’s begin with a better neck position!
Look straight ahead of you, finding a fixed position on a wall level with your eyes.
Keep your eyes locked there, slowly pulling your head back as if there was a piece of string attached to the top of your head and someone is pulling it up.
Don't look up with your head or down as you move your head backwards and wallah, we now have a better position for our neck. Excellent!
Now, we can try and hold this position and work the next part of our shoulders.
For your shoulders, imagine you are trying to pull your shoulders back in line with your head so you have a straight line from shoulder to head to shoulder.
Now, remember those shoulder blades we have on our backs? Let us imagine we have a bowl of sand on top of each one, and we are trying to pour the stand down the direct middle of our backs. This will help us redefine another way of pulling the shoulder blades down!
Let’s think about our jaw muscles as well, do we have a tendency to clench a lot? Check yourself, and massage your jaw muscles and help remind yourself to not clench throughout the day. Nice!
Now all we have to do is hold this, and we will be back into position in no time! That would be correct, but like with everything else we do, old habits die hard.
Here are some ways to help develop good routines and reminders throughout the day to keep building those habits.
1. Set up reminders for yourself everywhere you go. If you work in an office setting, set
up sticky notes that remind you about what we talked about in areas that your eyes frequently cross. This could be your monitor, perhaps a filing cabinet you go through, your water bottle that you drink from, and even the fridge/doors you use throughout the day.
2. Use your technology for good! Set periodic reminders on your phone to do a posture check. With that in mind, get into the habit of keeping your posture neutral, bringing your phone up to eye level instead of your head down to check it.
Incorporate these reminders anywhere you think they’ll be useful, from the sun visor in your car, to your fridge, night stand, and favorite rooms throughout the house.
One last thing: work on building those back muscles to maintain this better posture! An exercise that will work all portions of the muscle we’d like to address is a lying face down arm raise.
Find a place on the couch where you can have your body face down and let one arm hang.
Now with this arm, give us a thumbs up, and slowly raise that arm up as if you were creating one half of a Y ( arm is 45 degrees away from your head). Make sure to not use your shoulders and shrug while performing this!
Excellent, now we have so many ways to encourage better posture! We hope this has helped you as this has helped our team.
Until next time, this is Catalyst Wellness.