Have you ever tried to hold perfect posture for the entire day? Impossible right?! Even as a chiropractor this is something that I completely struggle with. Probably no big surprises here, but after my accident and being injured this was even harder. All I wanted to do was slouch & slump and it took way too much energy to sit or stand up right.
What did I do to focus on getting back up right? Well there was three real little things.
- I breathed– deep breathing in and out through my nose almost acted as a pulley within my spine. By only letting myself breathe through my nose I was actually forced to stand up right to get enough oxygen in. This was really noticeable when exercising; I did a group class two weeks in a row and the first week I was panting like a dog, hands on my knees and constantly puffing away. Needless to say, after that class I was spent. The following week, whenever there was a break I stood tall, inhaled deeply through my nose and I felt so much better. There was a significant improvement in energy levels and I felt that I could keep going strong throughout the entire class. This can be backed up with some of the studies out there claiming a 11% reduction in lactic acid & 22% decrease in total number of breaths when comparing nasal Vs mouth breathing.
- Hips forward– when sitting or standing one of the biggest triggers of slouching is rocking your hips back. So with this in mind, even when I was sitting, I focussed on rounding my hips forward. Now this is almost impossible on a couch, but in a hard chair it is quite easy- especially if you can keep your knees well and truly lower than your hip height. Our hips are the biggest part of spine we have and as a result they are like the foundation level of our house. Changing your foundation changes everything above and it is also the second biggest input into your balance and postural centres of your brain.
- Head up– yes I am writing this sitting down, but having your head up is one of the best things for you. It is by far the richest source of innervation to your brain and changing your head can literally change your whole view of the world. I came across the term “digital dementia” the other day and it showed just how slouched we are becoming. We know the brain damage and changes that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, yet some of us are walking around almost promoting that early brain and spinal decay.
As a chiropractor, yes I look at the whole spine as well as the surrounding joints, however, the most important areas by far are the upper neck and pelvis. If they are out of sync it is critical to correct them- keeping these areas balanced will maximise your ability to sustain an upright posture. However, there are a couple other hidden benefits too:
- Energy– guaranteed you will feel better the more upright you are- this is one of the greatest videos ever talking about power postures. Watch Amy Cuddy’s video
- Positivity– the world looks better when you can look out at it not just up at it. Coming from someone that just had their own little battle with depression, everything looked and felt so much harder when I was down, humped and stooped. Pulling yourself upright is a great leveller when you want to assess just how awesome this world of ours is.
- Digestion– as weird as this sounds, when you are upright you give your stomach and intestines a whole lot more room. That means it is easier for them to suck all of the energy and nutrients from your delicious food. There is a significant reduction in relaxation and indigestion especially associated with being upright and looking out.
So enjoy the last wild ride towards the end of the year and remember to be tall. We are always here to help you look, move and feel better and if you are struggling with your posture at all, give us a call- we can help. We have some new videos uploaded and soon will be having some extra massage hours available too.
Oh and please don’t forget- the Salvation Army Christmas tree appeal is on again – so please any unwrapped toys are greatly appreciated by December 9th.