Your mother was right! Good posture is an attitude about life and essential for overall health and well being. Almost all of our patients, regardless of their problem, get some sort of postural training. Do you think I am exaggerating? Try this simple test to feel how posture plays into shoulder function: Sit up straight right now, just like mom taught you. Raise both arms overhead and get an idea of how high you can reach. Now slouch. I mean slouch just like a teenager watching TV. Now raise your arms again. Couldn’t raise them as high, could you? Perhaps that pain in your shoulder that you have from using the computer all day is not just coming from your shoulder?
Now that you understand just how important posture is in how good you fell, let’s do something to improve it right now! I ask my patients that they think of their posture only a few times a day, because your body only needs an occasional reminder to correct itself.
Here’s my list of quick and easy posture tricks, guaranteed to make you look 10 years younger by this weekend:
1. Imagine that there is a string attached to the top of your head. Imagine someone GENTLY pulling upward on that string, making you ½ taller. Keep that string pulling on you until you finish this article. Try to do this every time you do a task on a daily basis, like reading the mail or making dinner.
2. First thing in the morning, in the car, adjust your rear-view mirror up just a bit. You will then have to sit more upright to see. The great thing about this: you don’t even have to think about it.
3. Stand with your back against a wall. If you can keep your chin in and your head against the wall, that’s great. Now, pinch your shoulder blades together. Do this ten times after each meal. Why after each meal? Because you will forget to exercise, but you won’t forget to eat.
4. Go to a corner in the room. (the hard part is finding an empty corner!). Put your left forearm on the left wall and your right forearm on the right wall. Try to put your nose into the corner. Feel that stretch in your chest and arms? That position is the exact opposite of how you are most of the day. Reverse that habit and feel better!
5. Give yourself a double chin. That’s right—stand tall, keep your chin down, and give yourself a nice, big double chin. This stretches those muscles under the back of your skull that gives you those headaches, especially when on the computer. Now, you will not look particularly attractive doing this exercise, so do not do it while standing in the grocery check-out. Save this one for home use only!
So there you have it! A great game plan to make you feel and look better plus making mom proud!