Your Posture Can Say It All!

Don Beaver, Fitness Director

I’m sure that all of us can remember parents, teachers, coaches, and more over the years telling us, “Sit up straight!” In fact, my wife often tells the story of how her beloved chorus teacher would smack her students between the shoulder blades if they were slouching, to not only improve their appearance but also improve their overall musical performance. By the way, that award-winning chorus traveled, competed, and frequently won various high school competitions against much larger schools throughout the State of North Carolina.

As we get older, with habits such as slouching, hunching over our cell phones/desks, watching TV, etc., the results can often lead to poor posture. Poor posture not only looks bad aesthetically, but it results in complications that include back pain, spinal dysfunction, joint degeneration, difficulty breathing, neck pain, and even poor digestion.

Rounded shoulders are usually a result of overstretched and weakened back/shoulder muscles and tight chest muscles. Strengthening the upper back and stretching those chest muscles is the first step to pulling those shoulders back.

Not only does posture impact your health and well-being, but it also has the ability to help you thrive at golf, pickleball, and tennis, as well as those chores around the house. Other benefits of good posture include:

• Increased confidence: It’s a fact that higher self-esteem will lead to an improved social circle and a more positive overall outlook on life.

• Reduced frequency of headaches: Poor posture creates tension in the upper back, neck, and shoulders, leading to those unwanted headaches.

• Improved productivity: Proper posture can positively impact your mental and physical health on the course/courts and at home!

Improved posture will not occur overnight. Be patient and persistent with a variety of exercises and new habits designed to develop that better posture. Stay active, maintain a healthy weight/diet, be mindful of body positioning, and add strength-training exercises to improve your posture. Check your current habits and adhere to the following everyday rituals:

• Sitting: Shoulders should be back and down and the back flat against the chair with your feet flat on the floor. Eyes should look slightly down when using a computer monitor, which should be about 20 inches away from your eyes.

• Standing: Tuck your chin with shoulders back and down. Engage your core by pulling your abdominals inward without arching, hunching, or extending.

• Sleeping: Sleep on your back with a mattress that is firm enough such that neither your lower back nor your thoracic spine sinks into the mattress. If you sleep on your side, pull your knees up slightly toward your chest and place a firm pillow between your knees. This will prevent your upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment while reducing stress on your hips/lower back.

As we seek to “take another trip around the sun” this year, let’s “enjoy the journey” with improved posture that will positively affect our Quail Creek life.