Let’s play a game!
Imagine yourself at the age of 10. Bathing in the sun and surrounded by sand, running all around, jumping and feeling the harmony of nature. Now, place yourself there at the age of 70. What has changed? Some would say their life perspectives or wealth, others would probably claim their thinking or enthusiasm…
How about feelings? Uhm, maybe not so much.
We can still act childish every day and enjoy small and simple things, regardless of age. But what is age doing to our bodies? Why can’t we conceive to jump, run and climb after a certain age?
We try to keep our souls young by acting childish but how do we keep our bodies as young as possible? As an old Chinese saying: “You are only as young as your spine”.
There are some rules that you have to keep in mind while reading this. As a famous saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” But our journey is not measured in miles, but in small and voluntarily actions. So take some seconds, put yourself in a comfortable position, pull your shoulders back to align your neck and spine and try to breathe in and out regularly.
Let us introduce our first guest – THE SPINE
Think of a tree. It has its stem to keep it vertical, in both storms and sunny weather. Your spine, similar to this tree stem, keeps you braced while you do most of your daily activities – sleeping, walking, exercising.
Posture is a particular position of the spine in which someone holds their body when moving, standing or sitting. But even more, posture is an attitude we adopt in a large variety of situations. We use it to impress, send different signals or even mislead our interlocutors. As neurotypical human beings, we were born with a natural posture, which can get distorted through time, due to muscular imbalances, exaggerated sports activities, repetitive movements or malicious positions when doing daily activities. This can lead to multiple side effects which, unfortunately, we have all experienced: pain, stiffness, inflexibility in the upper and lower back.
Let’s introduce our second guest, the mean one – THE SITTING
By nature, all our body functions are related to movement, so how come that we are sitting more than standing?
We were born to move, keep these words in mind. The next time you want to sit because your brain is attached to that cozy piece of furniture you call chair, just don’t. „Sitting is the new smoking” according to Dr. James Levine, principal investigator for National Institutes of Health (NIH) and it kills more people than HIV does, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, chronic neck and lower back pain, metabolic syndromes.
Why don’t we try this exercise? Identify your habits: when eating, driving, working or reading and make an average of the hours you spend sitting. Write that number down (you can do it digitally also, be green!).
Is that number higher than you expected? No worries, that’s rather common! It is part of the downsides of the modern lifestyle, but there are quite a few solutions for this upsetting habit and we want to share them with you.
What are the bad effects of sitting?
When sitting, we have no muscle activity in our glutes, we adopt strange positions (forward head, also known as text neck syndrome, kyphosis plus rotation of the shoulders or even hyperextension of the lumbar spine with a sprinkle of pelvic tilt). This changes our natural dynamics of the body, affect the circulation of the blood and our heart rhythm. But just as well, you might have experienced others symptoms due to improper posture when sitting, such as:
• Pain and lack of mobility of the upper body
• Common irritability
• Joint dysfunction
• Contractures of the neck muscles (scalene, pectoralis, trapezius, suboccipital muscles)
• “Rocks” and stiffness in the shoulders
• Poor sleep
• Constant “achy” feeling all over
• Numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms or/and hands
For example, when having an exaggerated kyphosis the spine will adopt the C shape for almost the entire time that you stand or sit. Besides the effects mentioned earlier, poor posture can lead to trigger points in the muscles, disc degeneration problems, cervical osteoarthritis or a cervical herniated disc. Moreover, it can compromise breathing by compressing the diaphragm which can cause or exacerbate respiratory diseases.
“Omg! My body was sending SOS signals all this time!”
Yes, this body of ours is kind of a genius; we just have to stop every now and then and pay attention to it.
“But what about my gym classes? I am doing my squats, my lifting, cycling, aerobic and ta, na, na…”
Well, bad effects of long sitting aren’t reversible by an hour of gym exercises. If you are sitting eight hours per day and you have a vicious position, nothing changes with that one hour of sports activities. You’re still a sedentary person. As awful as it sounds, once “the bad” is done, you can’t reverse it.
“Oh my, what can I do to solve this?”
We provide you with a complete set of Self-Analysis Posture. You will be trained on how to do that. It’s always a good idea to have a buddy to help reciprocal, but you can do it alone also using a mirror. But remember that „sharing is caring” trying a new thing with your partner, family and friends might help in the long run. In this way, you can motivate each other to feel happier, more confident and healthier.
Here is a summary of what’s going to happen (there will be further instructions inside the assessment itself). You’ll have to take some photos from the front, lateral and the back of your body from both standing and sitting, while keeping a natural, usual position. After you have finished that, you should be able to identify your type of posture (forward head with kyphosis, hyperlordosis and flat back) by taking The DIY Posture Assessment.
Well, my dears, it’s time for some real action. Here are a few quick steps that you can take, so why don’t we start doing them right now, shall we?
1. Take photos from the front, lateral and the back of your body.
2. Identify your type of posture by taking The DIY Assessment.
3. Get the exercises for your specific type of posture and start including them in your daily life.