Thursday, April 22, 2010


I'm tall and proud, but I constantly catch myself slouching. I stand in line with one leg bent and my back curved (looking a lot like the guy on the right). I lean down and lower my head to hear a friend at a loud party. I nearly double over to prepare food on my kitchen countertops (I need to save up for this!). It's easy to blame these moments of subpar posture on our environment--I wouldn't have to slouch around my apartment if I didn't have to worry about hitting my head every third step--but a lot of it is carrying on a habit I formed in my teenage years. My muscles are probably accustomed to letting my shoulders fall forward, and it's an ongoing struggle to hold myself upright.
Once, while standing in line at the grocery store, a woman engaged me in conversation about my height. No surprise there. But she told me she had lost several inches off her former height due to bad posture (she looked about 60). She said her bad posture led to mobility problems and she has trouble exercising due to lower bone mass, etc. She even said she spends time every day hanging upside down from a bar to try to stretch out her compressed bones and muscles! This really hit home for me. I'm back in an exercise routine after a year of next to nothing, but even when I run I see my reflection in a window and my back is hunched! It's frustrating, but after years of hiding my height, I realize it will take time to rebuild my posture. And as a young woman I feel like I need to make it a priority now to stand up straight, even if it means I bump my head more often, because I don't want to be lamenting my past slouching in 40 years as I hang upside down trying to straighten myself back out!
I need to spend some time learning exercises that strengthen posture. Anyone have any tips?