My Roamers, what’s your body doing as you peruse this entry?! Are you sitting down in your favourite coffee shop in Mission and reading this on your laptop? Perhaps you’re at your desk? Maybe you’re relaxing today, lying on your couch and hence holding your phone above you. Or possibly you’re just ending your day as you wait for your C-Train chariot on the platform to whisk you home, bag on one shoulder.
Wherever you are, stop for a second and check out what your posture is doing. Upon reading this, surely some of you adjusted your shoulders and straightened your back, trying to be taller.
Here’s the thing: proper posture isn't just about straightening up and standing tall. What most people think of as ‘fixing their posture’ entails sticking their butt out (anteriorly tilt their pelvis), pushing their chest out too much and hyperextending their knees. In actuality, what you are doing is disengaging your core which can lead to back, shoulder, and hip problems. Correct posture requires you to think about using all those parts, but simultaneously.
Most of my clients will have great posture during a squat, deadlift, push up or plank and it is my job to secure that they do. Seeing my clients perform a movement correctly with great form and control is akin to a proud parent watching their kid ride a bike for the first time. Mental fist bumps are aplenty in my head. Good form means they are using all the parts collectively, everything is in synch and they are moving better and stronger. Once the set ends however, everything changes. Like a deflating balloon, their perfect posture fizzles away, making way for rounded shoulders, hyperextending their lower back or knees, or popping their head forward.
Cue my frustrations.
I preach to my clients about being conscious of their posture not only during our training sessions, but also when they are sitting at their desk, when they are waiting in line at the grocery store, or hiking on the weekend. Get annoyed with me, I see your rolling eyes, it’s ok! But, I nag cause I care (and now I sound like your parent). To avoid injury or chronic pain, there is a simple solution and that solution is, remember these next steps!
Head to Toe Check.
Here is a little exercise you can do to check your posture and help bring awareness to the areas you have opportunity in to improve. Stand against a wall with your heels, butt, shoulders, and head touching the wall. This probably feels extremely unnatural for most of you, but it’s supposed to. Where are you challenged the most? Your shoulders? Your butt? Let’s work head to toe and adjust each position.
We all know that being active on a regular basis is important to reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other physical ailments, but if we do not make an effort to move properly then we are also putting ourselves at risk for injuries or chronic pain. Injuries lead to a decrease in your physical activity and voila, you’ve entered a downward spiral. The more you do this self-check, the more natural it will become. When brushing your teeth, waiting in line for your morning coffee at the Purple Perk, before you pick up that barbell, or before your hike, just check yourself. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.