6 Ways to Practice Good Posture So You Feel Absolutely Wonderful

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Having good posture isn’t just about standing tall. You also need to align your body properly in whatever position you find yourself in—including as you move about.

The better your posture is—and the more time you spend in it through a wide range of activities—the less time you’ll spend dealing with dysfunction, discomfort, and pain. As another bonus, you’ll look and feel more confident, calm, and energized.

Yes, that did say look and feel.

It’s easy to see that your posture can be a result of your energy—when you’re tired, you may slump.

You can also see it as a reflection of your emotional state—when you’re feeling threatened or defensive, you may cross your arms over you chest.

But your posture affects the way you feel, too.

Here’s one example: Spending time hunched over can lead to a feeling of anxiety and irritation. Why?

This C-curve position compresses your diaphragm which causes shallow breathing. Shallow breathing is a sign of the fight-or-flight response. Though you’re not in any danger while sitting slumped over at your desk (at least I hope not), your body gets the signal, anyway, and the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are released.

You wonder why your’e so tense when all you’ve been doing is sitting at your computer. Now you know.

Luckily, you can shift the response by changing your posture. Take a deep breath and notice how you automatically sit up straight and roll your shoulders back. Ahhhh…..

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6 ways to practice good posture so you feel absolutely wonderful

  1. Regardless of what position you’re in, remind yourself to have a neutral spine

  2. Follow Diana Vreeland’s advice: Don’t lie down when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can stand. Don’t stand when you can move!

  3. For every 30 minutes you do spend sitting, move and loosen up for at least one minute

  4. Start your day with some movement—I love Morning Moves followed by some stretching

  5. Get regular bodywork. If you can’t see a massage therapist, cajole a loved one, use a roller, lacrosse balls, your own hands, etc.

  6. This one is especially helpful! Remember the 6 foundational postures from last week? Spend time in them, moving around if possible—especially the ones that are difficult for you

That’s it for the blog series on posture. Hope you’re feeling like a glamazon already! (But if you’re not, keep practicing and give it time…)

Wishing you wonderfulness!

Hold That Pose! Can You Do These 6 Foundational Postures?

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As a human, you’re made to move.

As a glamazon, you’re made to move easily, beautifully, and painlessly. In order to set yourself up to do this, you have to get your starting positions in place. Last week you learned how to stand. Now it’s time to see how your body reacts to seven more postures.

Why are these considered foundational postures? Simply because your body is made to do these. As a child, you naturally and effortlessly held yourself in these positions. But thanks to modern conveniences, such as chairs, couches, beds, and tech devices, your body has been trained out of this primal and perfect knowledge.

Want to know how far you’ve drifted from these foundations? Not only are the postures below good to practice, but you can also use them to assess the current state of your muscles, joints, and bones.

6 Foundational Postures

Start by standing with good posture, running through the checklist: feet, hips, core, shoulders, and head. (If you don’t know what that refers to, read last week’s article here.)

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Hip hinge

From your good standing posture, hinge at your hips (not your waist) and lean your torso forward until it’s parallel to the floor.

Is your spine still neutral (with its natural curves)?

Are your shins vertical?

Are your heels planted?

If you answered no to any of the above, you may need to develop greater mobility and range-of-motion in your hips and/or hamstrings (back of thighs).

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Full range-of-motion squat

Return to your good standing posture, then hinge at your hips and knees until your hamstrings (back of thighs) are resting on your calves.

Is your spine still neutral—or close to it? (Mine is close, but my tailbone is tucked under—I’m still working on this!)

Are your knees wide?

Are your heels planted?

If you answered no to any of the above, you may need to develop greater mobility and range-of-motion in your hips, groin, calves, and/or ankles.

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L-sit

Sit down on the floor with your torso upright and legs stretched out in front of you, hip-width or slightly wider apart. (This is basically the same posture as the hip-hinge.)

Is your spine still neutral (your tailbone should NOT be tucked under)?

Is your torso stacked (head over shoulders over hips)?

Are your legs straight with no bend at the knee?

If you answered no to any of the above, you may need to develop greater mobility and range-of-motion in your hips and/or hamstrings (back of thighs).

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Kneel

Kneel on your shins with your feet extended (toes are NOT tucked under).

Is your spine still neutral?

Is your torso stacked (head over shoulders over hips)?

Is your butt resting on your feet?

If you answered no to any of the above, you may need to develop greater mobility and range-of-motion in your hips, quads (front of thighs), and/or ankles.

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Pike

Come to all-fours with wrists aligned under shoulders and knees aligned under hips. Tuck your toes under then lift your hips up as you straighten legs and push chest back towards your thighs.

Is your spine still neutral?

Are your hips centered between feet and hands?

Are your heels close to the floor?

If you answered no to any of the above, you may need to develop greater mobility and range-of-motion in your hips, hamstrings (back of thighs), calves, shoulders, and/or chest area.

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Overhead arms

Return to your good standing posture, then lift your arms straight up, palms facing each other, stopping when you can’t move them back any more.

Is your spine still neutral (with its natural curves)?

Are your arms straight?

Are your upper arms positioned behind your face?

If you answered no to any of the above, you may need to develop greater mobility and range-of-motion in your shoulders and/or triceps (back of arms).

I create these blog posts so you can learn the most effective, simple, and efficient Paleo-based practices that counter the effects of aging.  You deserve to love the way you look and feel throughout your entire wonderful life. But sometimes knowledge isn’t enough. If you need help figuring out how to actually incorporate these practices into your life, please reach out!

Practice Makes Permanent: Change Your Posture Now to Prevent Problems Later

Practice Makes Permanent: Change Your Posture Now to Prevent Problems Later

You have cells that help build bone (osteoblasts) and others that help break it down (osteoclasts). While it’s true that production of osteoblasts can slow down with age, the way you use your body continues to exert an influence on the formation and resiliency of your bones. This also holds true for your joints and muscles, as well.

Your posture—while standing and moving—creates either virtuous or vicious circles, meaning that as your posture affects your body’s health and appearance, so will those factors then influence your posture. This is why practice doesn’t always make perfect. Doing the same thing over and over reinforces that particular behavior, regardless of whether it’s beneficial to you or not.

An obvious example of this is the hunched-over posture that’s encouraged by the use of computers, phones, and modern chairs (ugh, especially car seats). As you regularly adopt this posture, certain muscles lengthen and others shorten which pull on your joints and bones in various ways. Over time, your bones will begin to take the rounded-shoulder shape and you may even develop kyphosis (excessive upper back rounding, aka a “hunch”).

If you’ve noticed this in your mirror, all is not lost. You can change your posture.

No, You Don't Have to Shrink as You Age! 4 Ways to Keep Standing Tall

No, You Don't Have to Shrink as You Age! 4 Ways to Keep Standing Tall

4 common reasons why you shrink as you age

  1. A decrease in muscle mass (known as sarcopenia) can lead to weakness and frailty, as well as a decrease in height

  2. A decrease in bone density and resilience (known as osteoporosis) can lead to weakness, fractures, and greater curvature of the spine—all of which can also cause you to become shorter

  3. The discs between your spinal vertebrae can dehydrate and compress causing shrinkage

  4. Flattening of the arches of your feet can also make you slightly shorter

This is not just a superficial concern, either. Losing one to two inches within a year puts you at a higher risk for spinal and hip fractures.

Consider getting your bone density screened at your next doctor’s visit, especially if you’re around menopause-age or have any risk factors, such as any broken bones as an adult or a close relative with osteoporosis.

But here’s an important thing to know: Just because age-related shrinking is common nowadays does NOT mean it’s natural or inevitable.

Can You Learn to Love the Plateau?

You’ve committed to [whittling your middle, developing stronger muscles, increasing your stamina, etc.]. You have a plan. You have a coach to help you along (hopefully!). You’ve got this!

Hitting the plateau is a necessary step along your path towards your goal, no matter what it is. Think of it a well-deserved rest spot. Take advantage of it. This flat area of no movement is now your baseline level. If you don’t spend time there and truly embrace it, you’re likely to slip back into old patterns.