A video with posture exercises crossed my path last month via my facebook feed. After trying the exercising and finding them extremely difficult I decided to finally listen to all my martial arts instructors and to try to get my head in the right place, literally!
The first thing I did was find a few friends to take on a monthly challenge with me, read on for our experiences including a “miracle” exercise that is helping my lower back pain immensely. P.S I am not a DR. or medical practitioner so don’t take any of this as professional advice just my own experiences. P.P.S In some of the photos in this post you will see my nipples, if you have a problem with that, don’t look.
The first few days were filled with a lot of research, learning about posture types trying to figure out what is a good posture to begin with and trying out different exercises (see summary at the end)
I realized that correct alignment should come from the feet, where you should have 3 point support structure, toe, little finger and heel all holding the weight equally. With me the small toe doesn’t push the ground at all and that changes the whole center of gravity and moves it forward.
I also learnt about correct alignment of skeleton, having a neutral pelvic not tilting up or down, 2 cm deep curve in lower back when leaning on wall, 4 cm difference in neck, ears should be in line with shoulders and also how dangerous forward head posture could be because as we get older it will effect blood flow to our brain. Here are some video’s I liked.
|Types of postures|
|Dangers of forward head posture|
On the second day I noticed how much your posture affects your visual input. Sitting in a better posture forced me to change the angle of my eyes too if I wanted to get the same visual input I’m used to falling on my Fovea. I also realized how always being short and looking up using my neck has had an effect on my posture. I’m guessing tall people have the same effect just in reverse.
All three of us participating in this challenge began to feel the original exercises were getting easier. Ashley was reported decrees in her usual neck pain. On day 13 I was brushing my teeth and thinking how big my boobs look! Then I realized I was standing in a really good posture. In my regular hunched posture my boobs disappeared. I think a lot of this posture comes from when I was growing up and hated having boobs. We weren’t the most diligent bunch, and sometimes exchanged the exercises with a massage or yoga but updating each other via a joint Hackpad, reminded kept us going.
I combed through a long Reddit post about good posture, and a few posts recommended foundation training. I was very skeptical when watching the charismatic chiropractor give this Ted talk claiming that all our problems were from sitting and that he has one exercise to fix it all. I did try the exercise though and lo and behold it has been a miracle exercise for me. It lengthens and strengthens the entire back and the next day I didn’t wake up with my chronic lower back. It actually helped me realize what the other exercises were about and do them better. Since then whenever I feel my back start to ‘twinge’ I’ll do this exercise (including morning and night) and it has an amazing affect, activating the strong back muscles that support the spine reducing the pain immediately. This has made me think that perhaps some of the stretches I have been doing weren’t good, even though they provided some immediate relief, I might have been weakening my muscles instead of strengthening them. This is always the big debate about stretches.
I also got a picture of me taken while slacklining and really didn’t like the posture I saw. I looked terrified and frozen which actually was the case. So much of our posture is based on emotional wellbeing.
Eran 30 day summary:
I think I am more aware of my posture, in the sense that I think about it more times during the day and try to adjust it.
Sitting in incorrect posture in bed is more painful than it was before the exercises
I think I am standing more straight.
Complete speculation and possibly unrelated – but I feel like I had more positive (more interactions and they were more positive) social interactions with strangers in the last month.
Ashley – 30 day summary
I think I should have focused on my lower back posture more. Especially given the focus on posture from the past month, I noticed recently how inflexible my lower back is versus my neck/shoulders. I pretty much exclusively did the #2 exercise for upper back/neck. I found that exercise was quite helpful to my upper back/shoulder posture and felt good, but also found it quite burdensome to do regularly, especially twice a day.
It helped to have the group tracking going on, and i regularly wished we were tracking other things besides the posture stuff, as it helped me keep going. that said i seemed to mostly fall off the band wagon after when i stopped doing the exercises/lost my routine. After that break in the pattern, I seemed to mostly only be able to keep up the prior routine i have in place with yoga, that I rationalized as being equivalent/inclusive of doing “posture exercises”… definitely a rationalization as my neck feels much less good than it was feeling around day 7. I think in order to really start to improve my posture I’m gonna need to figure out a better way to integrate it into my day rather than just these annoying repetitive exercises I have to do twice a day.
My 30 day summary and before/after pics:
The main outer difference is probably opening of my upper chest, I think my neck and shoulders still need a lot of work.
The inner difference is much less lower back pain, more awareness about posture and the deep realisation (once again) that these changes in habit must come from enjoyment and not just repetitive exercises. I now have a few different variations of exercises (see below) that I play with and include dancing/ kundalini shaking and focus on the “feel good” of the movement. Also doing this thing with friends was awesome and highly recommended. Thanks!
Summary of exercises
|Foundation training basic exercise. Helps me more than I could imagine.|
|use foam roller slowly to open back and relax and some sitting exersizes|
|The basic exercise we were doing, I was also doing it laying down and sitting instead of standing sometimes|
|Warming up neck and chin tucks that can be done when sitting||http://www.posturecisecrashcourse.com/forward-head-posture?mc_cid=b49d8e1a38&mc_eid=a24c4430d9|
|Finding movement and alignment in your spine|
|Hannan somatic stretches I’ve been doing for years on and off|
|Back mobility exercises I learnt from dancers|