By Jenean LaRoche – Postural Alignment Specialist
· Scoot back in your seat. What I mean by that is when you are sitting down in a chair, car or plane, move your tailbone as far back in the seat as you can. This will reposition your hips, elongate your spine and move your head over your shoulders. Try it right now!
· Look up when you walk. Because we are forward focused on things like computers and cell phones, our heads tend to move forward of our shoulders and that posture is carried around when we walk, causing excess pressure on the neck and upper back. Instead raise your chin as you walk around to help bring your head over your shoulders. Then simply avert your eyes to see the ground. Voila!
· Go barefoot when you can, or at least wear a minimal slipper or shoe while at home. This will strengthen your feet and ankles which are part of good posture foundation. This also lengthens and strengthens your Achilles tendon. Stiff shoes and orthotics can do a bit of compensation for posture problems but then your foot becomes a bit lazy. Put those 26 bones in your feet to good use and go barefoot to strengthen important posture muscles.
· Stand at your desk. Too much sitting weakens many posture muscles and can cause you to look hunched over and older than you are. Standing at your desk gives you a workout for all your posture muscles and helps keep your upper back from rounding forward. They make lots of great standing-sitting combo desk options these days. Stand when you can and take a seat when you need to. Ideally stand at least 50% of your day. Check out www.Varidesk.com and www.thehumansolution.com for desks that I have personally used and like.
· Dance like no ones watching (they really are not anyway). Dancing and moving your body in lots of ways are good for the joints like a varied diet is good for the body. Joints that have limited movements during your everyday life get used to only moving in those limited motions and then when asked in the future to do something different, like bend over and pick up something on the floor, may have difficulty doing it. Dancing to your favorite music is an easy and fun way to get your joints moving. Flail your arms up over your head, twist at the waist, lift your knees, squat as you boogie down. Dance like a “wild and crazy guy”. You’ll have some fun, release a bit of stress and your joints and muscles will be in a bit better condition than when you started.
· Drink MORE water. Yes really! Muscles and tendons need a hydrated environment. Being dehydrated is sure fire way to bring on needless muscle and joint pain. To find the ideal amount to drink, divide your weight in half and then drink that much water in ounces daily. Example: 160 lbs = 80 ounces of water. Ideally this is real water. Soda, coffee and tea are dehydrating.
· Rest posture smart when you need it. When your body is in pain, sometimes you just need to relieve the pressure. Try this posture smart exercise that my clients love to help melt away muscle or joint pain. Follow these steps:
1. Lie down on your back, on the floor, and place your legs up over a sofa or chair so your knees are bent at 90 degrees.
2. Place your arms, palms up, at 45 degree angle to your shoulders.
3. Your head should be resting on the floor to lengthen the back of your neck but if your neck is uncomfortable you can use a small pillow under your head.
4. Breath fully, trying to bring your breath down to the lowest parts of your lungs. This generally looks and feels like your belly is filling up with air like a balloon.
5. Rest in this pose, breathing fully, between 5 and 15 minutes. If you need to, stay there for half an hour. Repeat 2-3 times a day.
Jenean LaRoche is the founder of Align Posture and offers private posture therapy sessions at SenSpa as well as a group class. She is a Posture Alignment Specialist certiﬁed by Egoscue University® and holds a BA degree in Dance Education as well as Master Certification in Intuition Medicine®. Her past licensure includes nursing and massage therapy. Jenean’s passion for aging well started in the 1980’s and she is a vital 60 years young and still dances daily. In addition to her work in posture therapy, she is also the director of the SenSpa Wellness Center.