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?


Megan said...

To put it simply: Yoga. It really works toward better posture and overall muscle strength.
Better Posture 101 is a pretty in-depth piece about posture and yoga, and the links give you photos to the different poses!

jheri said...

Posture is very important to me and I have some mirrors at home to remind me. I have been told that yoga helps, but I really hate doing it. You might try asking your physician or talking to a physical therapist for exercises. I've seen a lot online, but don't know how to rate them.

Let me give a big thumbs up to the AWP boards. My friend Colleen has the first prototype and it made food preparation painless for her. You don't give up counter space because you can store things underneath it. Most counters, even raised ones, aren't high even for anyone over six feet and this lets you fine tune what you need. it is money very well spent. I use one for doing other things just so I am standing up with good posture. They are really beautiful. Colleen's is very wide and she uses it as a countertop so she isn't constantly bending over for things. But you can get them in different sizes. I think it is good not to think about them as expensive cutting boards, but rather as very inexpensive raised countertops. Here is her webpage with some videos if you order tell them her name for special treatment.

Becky Thomas said...

I started going to yoga classes at the Y a few weeks ago and it's been great! It'll probably take me awhile to get good at it, but it's been really nice and relaxing at the end of the day. I just deleted like 25 comments from spammers! Gross.

Rhi said...

Like they've said, yoga really helps (I really enjoy it!), as will anything that works on keeping your core (abs) strong.