Whether I am treating a new or returning patient or teaching bright and eager yoga students, they all have the curiosity to learn, move, heal, feel, and explore in their bodies and mind. It is inspiring. Are you a curious person? Do you seek knowledge and have the inquisitiveness to learn something new or relearn something old? This curiousness may take you out of your normal habits and patterns. It keeps you moving forward and evolving in uncertainty.
Do you know how much the human head weighs? It is 10-12 pounds (the brain weighs around three pounds). When your head slightly shifts forward while sitting, that ramps up an enormous amount of stress on your spine especially at your neck and middle back. For every inch your head shifts forward, it adds 10 pounds of weight, which means that your head and your muscles have to work even harder to hold you in an out-of-alignment position. Therefore, overtime as your head shifts forward you will actually fatigue faster.
Slouch right now as you read this. That’s right, hunch forward, and take a deep breath… are you able to? Stay slumped and raise your arm straight in front of you. How high does your arm go? Now sit up straight, take a deep breath in, and then raise your arm forward. Do you breathe better? Does your arm go higher? Slouching (aka forward head posture in physical therapy lingo) leads to neck problems, shoulder issues and breathing challenges among other things. And who wants a 20 pound watermelon hanging around their neck?
Having good posture has many benefits; some might even surprise you. For example, you’ll look younger. One of my patients is 83 years old, and he looks only 70 because he has stellar, impeccable posture. You will appear taller and more confident, you will reduce upper, middle and/or lower back pain, increase oxygen consumption, enhance digestion, and decrease TMJ/jaw pain. The list goes on. Sit up straight and stand with intention, and you will look and feel better.
Simple tips for good sitting posture:
-Position your hip and knee joints at 90 degree angles.
-Put your feet flat on the floor.
-Center your sitting bones (pelvis). The knobby points at the base of the pelvis that meet the chair have equal weight distribution side to side and forward to backward.
-Preserve your curves. Slide your hand at the space between your low back and chair, so the curve isn’t flat against the chair or overly arched, if there is no lumbar support.
-Shoulders relax down away from your ears and are in a vertical line with your hips.
-Lift your chest and gently bring your head slightly back.
-Look up from your electronic device.
-Breathe and smile. You’ll feel younger just by reading this.
Admit it, your Mom was right. The wise woman who said and maybe still says, “Sit up straight!” Remember, like everything in life, it is a practice; it’s a habit and takes time to develop correct posture. Practice good posture all the time, sitting and standing. It’s about having the awareness to arrange your bones properly so your muscles work efficiently to support you. There is even an incredible Smart Compression apparel line with PostureCue Technology by IntelliSkin. You immediately see and feel your posture improve by educating your muscles how to function while static or during movement in your sport in all terrains and all conditions.
So where does curiosity lead you? Take something as simple as posture, which is a vital component to your well-being whether you are an athlete or desk jockey. It’s almost so simple we forget about it, but it is super important to relearn and practice. Good posture is at the top of the list along with eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep for a more healthy, happy, and productive life.
Be Curious and Sit Up Straight,