Right off the bat, let me say that I’m not typically that crude. The title is a quote from a show I’ve started watching via Netflix called Drop Dead Diva, but it struck a cord with me because it’s something I’ve become more aware of again since beginning physical therapy for my back and shoulder.
Growing up, proper posture was emphasized in my home and considered to be AS important as wearing a good bra. Mom always said “Tummy in, Shoulders Back, Chest Out”. Ballet classes further emphasized proper form including tucking your bum under which helps elongate the spine. Having had all that drilled into me throughout my adolescence and early adult years, it surprised me to hear that I wasn’t doing those things anymore (I hadn’t noticed) and that the lack of good posture had contributed to my injuries. Heck, before I started my last job, I’d been a regular participant in a core ball class at our local “Y”, so I should have at least had awesome core strength, right?
I am working on postural awareness in myself in all that I do. It’s part of being ‘body-conscious’ rather than ‘self-conscious’. While sitting at my desk, something that I can’t do for more than 20 minutes at a time without ‘flaring up’ my back and sciatica caused by my work injuries, I became aware that my typical desk posture had become a lean onto my right elbow and somewhat hunched over. The posture was likely a compensation for both the lower back and shoulder injuries, but it wasn’t helping my injuries improve and instead was creating new ones. By simply focusing on tummy in, shoulders back and bum tucked, I am feeling stronger when sitting and my pain level increases at a slower rate.
While standing and walking, I have become aware that I had developed a ‘sway-back’ stance…bum out… as if sticking that thing out will make my stomach look smaller? The longer I stand or walk, the greater the pain. The amazing thing is, simply by taking proper posture, I can extend the amount of time I can stand or walk by almost double before the pain increases.
Posture is such an easy change. WAY easier to make a habit than changing the way you eat. The results are almost instantaneous and only improve with practice over time. And…best of all, proper posture actually makes you LOOK slimmer. So say it with me…
Shoulders Back and Show the Rack.