Have you ever done something and thought, I am making this harder than I need to or think there has to be an easier way to do this?
Many of us make posture harder and use way more effort than we need to use.
Here is an example:
How do you change your posture from what you think is slouching to not slouching?
Often people will pull their shoulders back, lift their chest or arch their back and pull in their abdominal muscles.
That strategy for posture uses at least seven of the larger muscles in your body just to sit or stand. That does not seem very efficient. Along with a lack of efficiency, this type of change will enforce misalignment of our spine, by using larger moving muscles for posture, putting extra pressure on our joints and organs while limiting how our body should move when breathing.
What should you do if you want a ‘good’ posture while using less effort?
Be sure that you are sitting on your SITS bones NOT your tails bone. This will put your weight through the broadest part of your pelvis rather than one of the most narrow parts. Your SITS bones are the bones at the bottom of your butt. Often the longer we sit the more we slide down from our SITS bones to our tailbone putting pressure on this tiny area and at the same time flexing through the lumbar spine which the discs between our vertebrae do not like this type of prolonged pressure. When this happens we tend to ‘sit up straight’ by lifting the chest, arching the back, and/pulling the shoulders back and down, and finally pulling our abdominals in. We may feel we are sitting straighter and yet, have done nothing to change the area that will provide our body and spine, the greatest amount of support for sitting in optimal posture.
It is better for your body if you stand up and sit back down on your SITS bones. We encourage you to go the extra step and reach underneath your glutes and pull them out and back. This puts you on the broadest part of your pelvis. Next, place one hand on your chest and the other hand just underneath the bottom of your head. Take a breath in and as you exhale gently traction your hands away from one another. Do this three times.
Now you are in optimal posture and can begin working, driving, etc.
Squeezing the glutes or pushing the hips and pelvis forward is the common nonoptimal posture we assume when standing. This posture may ‘feel’ comfortable and at the same time is wrecking your spine and hips.
Try as best you can to center your weight between the base of your big toes, small toes and heels on both feet.
Let your glutes relax or think of space between your glutes. Use the same cues from above, place one hand on your chest and the other hand just underneath the bottom of your head.
Take a breath in and as you exhale gently traction your hands away from one another.
Repeat three times.
Probably the most challenging part about making postural changes is being cognizant of it. One way to be cognizant is to appreciate how your body does feel when you set yourself in the optimal posture. Feel the difference in how you can breathe and the lack of effort needed to be in a more natural posture.
Life can require a lot of energy. Use some of the IMS magic (i.e., principle) on your posture to save energy, improve how you breathe, decrease pressure on your organs, and wear and tear on your joints.
Have questions? Looking to improve your posture? Reach out. We can help.
P.S. Consistency is key to improving your posture and reaping its benefits. When you start using these new strategies, you may feel like you are standing very far forward or wondering if your shoulders are still coming forward.
1. You may feel forward because you are used to standing back on your heels.
2. Your shoulders need to come forward to work in front of your body. How you get them forward can lead to issues. Constantly pulling them down and back leads to problems.
And that's a topic for another time...