I Stand for “Good Posture”

Random Fact: Who invented the High-five?

There are many origin stories of the high five, but the two most documented candidates are Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke, of the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball team, on October 2, 1977, and Wiley Brown and Derek Smith, of the Louisville Cardinals men’s college basketball team, during the 1978–1979 season.

Do you work in an office at a computer all day? Do you drive to that office in a car? Better yet, do you text or check social media on a phone? If you answered “Yes” to any, or ALL of those questions then please read on and just admit guilt.

There are so many things in the everyday life that affect posture. Things in our society have us slouching, which wreaks havoc on our bodies and turns us into a future Quasi Moto, also known as the Hunchback. If you were like me, your mother, grandmother, or, in my case, my great grandmother, would poke me in the back with a zap sound every time I displayed poor posture. My reaction was the immediate correction, with a side of rolled eyes and a mumble of something not so nice under my breath.

At the time, I thought of it as an annoyance, but my Great Nana was on to something. She knew the benefits of posture, even if it was just something she may have been particular about.

In my industry, posture is something we focus on. Mainly, every movement in the gym should have proper form, which can NOT happen without good posture. This will prevent injury and produce the maximum power for what you are asking of the body. Super awesome – right? But, did you know, having good posture has so many more benefits?

Proper posture helps with:

-Breathing: When our body is upright in the proper position, it allows our lungs to expand, thus getting more oxygen. Building more on this, it has been found that the more oxygen we get, the better our memory and learning capacity is. Good posture = smarter you.

-Improved circulation and digestion: When our body is the correct posture, the blood is allowed to flow more smoothly. Proper posture also aligns our organs and lets them function as intended.

-Muscle and joints: When we are standing/sitting correctly, our body is aligned. Body alignment is so important for our muscles and joints. When in the correct position, our muscles and joints can do what they were intended to do and work together in harmony. When we are out of alignment, our bodies will do what is asked, but not necessarily in the proper manner. This is where neck, back, hip, knee, and shoulder pain come from. When you build a house you build it on the proper foundation making sure everything is aligned. The same goes for our bodies.

-Makes you look taller and slimmer: That old saying, “Stand Tall” comes from having proper posture. Good posture projects confidence. When one looks confident we are perceived as having a higher status, we look more authoritative, and trustworthy. In turn we typically get treated with more respect.

“Tyler, what does proper posture actually look like?”

That, my awesome friends is a great question. It looks different for everyone. To illustrate my point, I am going to show you a couple different photos.

Example of slouching

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Example of Proper Posture

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Example of poor posture with cell phone

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Example of proper posture with phone

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Most importantly, you want your ears over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips, your hips over your knees, and your knees over you ankles. It’s like that song we all know… Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes. Let’s just update it to reflect my wise words. Your chin should be parallel to the floor, your thumbs should face forward, and your body weight should be distributed evenly in your feet. POP QUIZ. How is your posture? Stand against a wall with your feet about 6 inches in front of the wall. Place your head, shoulders, back, and butt against the wall while decreasing the arch of your lower back. Remember what this feels like because that is correct posture. All that needs to happen… Push away from the wall and stay upright. BOOM…correct posture.

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News flash. This wouldn’t be much of a wellness blog if I didn’t share with you some exercises to help correct posture. With my clients who are exhibiting poor posture, I usually do a 2-1 rule. What is this, you ask? Two pull movements to every push movement – simple. For example, I may have them do Lat pull-downs and seated rows and only the chest press. I may also have them do an extra set or two of the pull movement to help correct the issue.

Here is a sample set for a workout showing the 2-1 rule:

Sample set of: 2 Pulls to 1 Push

Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets x 8-12 reps (Pull motion)

Chest Press: 3 sets x 8-12 reps (Push motion)

Seated Rows: 3 sets x 8-12 reps (Pull motion)

Sample set of: adding more sets to the pull motion

Seated Rows: 4/5 sets x 8-12 reps

Push-ups: 3 sets x 8-12 reps

Here are my favorite exercises to help correct posture.

-Seated Row

-Reverse flyes

-Back extensions/superman’s

-Planks

-Farmer’s carry

More important than just doing exercises, you actively need to change your environment. Simply practice sitting upright while driving or typing at your computer. Walk tall while strutting your stuff down the street (you know, John Travolta style in Saturday Night Fever…minus the paint can and unbuckled belt).

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Finally, avoid the smartphone slump. Little battles over time make the difference and your future self will thank you.

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Top 5:  The last 5 songs I enjoyed on Spotify

  1.  Rhythm Nation: Janet Jackson
  2. Broken: LovelytheBand (NEW & HOT)
  3. Every other Freckle: Alt-J
  4. Ironic: Alanis Morrisette
  5. Womanizer: Britney Spears

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