How has your internal road trip been going? Are you keeping notes? Have you thought about the guilt you’ve carried around, about the ways you can simplify, about the role of fitness in your life? As a coach, I often tell my athletes, “Pick one thing you can do better right now.” Have you found one thing to do better?
For Part 6, I’d like you to think about your posture.
Proper posture will allow your body to operate more efficiently and effectively. To achieve postural alignment, imagine a plumb line beginning at your ear and extending through your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. Have another person view you from the side in order to get an objective picture.
Poor posture can cause muscle pain, limit performance, affect digestion, impair organ function, and increase joint wear-n-tear. And good posture can actually improve your appearance by making you look taller and your stomach flatter. And hey, who can turn that down?
Learn to recognize the warming signs of poor posture–backache, stiff neck, headache–so that you can correct it. Develop an awareness of your body (called a kinesthetic sense). Relax, and don’t tense up muscles you are aren’t using. For instance, watch yourself in the mirror as you brush your teeth. Are your shoulders up in your ears? Do you hold you arms stiffly and up in the air? Do you have your head tilted back?
Learn to breath and mentally scan your body for tense areas. Re-align and soften those areas. Get yourself back into “plumb.” I often find that just dropping my chin down a bit reminds me to sit or stand taller and straighter.
Take note of how often you hold yourself in stressed-out posture. Take note of how often you sit tilted-ly in your office chair or how often you lean to one side more than the other.
It will certainly take time to reverse bad posture habits that you’ve had for years, but I am guessing that the improvements in the way your body feels will be the positive reinforcement needed to maintain a new habit.