It's that time of the year again and we need to prepare for the habits that we may accumulate while sitting in those dreaded school or work desks. Yes it's time to get ready for Back to School! This month we will hear from 8 Weeks to Wellness founder Dr. Dane Donohue on how to prevent that dreaded humpback.
One of my favorite sayings is “Posture follows movement like a shadow”, first introduced by English Physiologist Charles Sherrington in 1922. What does that mean? Well, our posture will not only determine how we look but also how we move as we age. I believe that posture and alignment are the most overlooked, yet significant aspects of great health. Your posture is the direct reflection of the alignment of your spine, it’s an effect, NOT a cause. Since alignment can be changed, the good news is that you have direct control over your posture. So follow these five tips and you will not only look better, you will move better, feel better and age better.
1. Be aware of your alignment. One exercise I have patients do is to stand against a wall with their head, shoulder blades, butt, and heels against the wall. Then I ask them to keep their spine in that alignment and tiptoe away from the wall without changing their posture. Does that feel different I ask them? “Wow, YES” they normally tell me, "it feels awkward". Well, that wall is straighter than your spine. Use the wall as a reference for good vertical posture and alignment. Make that feeling of standing against the wall the new norm for your posture.
2. Stop texting with your head in flexion. “TextNeck” is a new condition due to how much we are using our phones, especially our kids! Bring the phone up to a neutral eye level. Your spine winds up in the position you put it in the most. If you don't want "forward head posture", then stop putting your head in forward flexion all the time!
3. Use a standing desk. I recently got a sit/stand desk which allows me to sit or stand while I work. I LOVE it. If God meant for us to sit for long periods of time, he would have made us with 4 legs, like a chair, instead of two. If you sit for a living or for more than 5 hours a day, consider getting a standing desk.
4. Strengthen your core. You CAN’T fire a cannon from a rowboat! Is your core a battleship or a rowboat? Our alignment is only as good as our core strength. If we have weak abdominals, weak glutes, and weak spinal muscles, we will pull our back and spine out of alignment. We have so many small and large muscles that attach to the spine and they need to be strong and flexible.
5. Learn our “Posture Prep” exercises. At Woodbury Spine
, we’ve developed a series of core strengthening and core lengthening (stretching) series of exercises that we call “Posture Prep”. The changes we see in patients when we combine the Posture Prep exercises with Chiropractic Adjustments are amazing, and the before and after posture pictures speak for themselves.
In my 30-year career as a Chiropractor, I’ve noticed that people who live with great energy and movement into older age have a couple of things in common and one of the big ones is that they have good posture. The second is that they move well. The ultimate rigidity in life is called “Rigor Mortis” and when we die, we will become as stiff as a board. So this is a good life metaphor, life is motion, and death is rigidity. There is a reason we call dead people “stiffs”. So, follow these tips, and take your posture, alignment and mobility seriously. The quality of your life and movement depends on it!
Yours in great health,
Dr. Dane Donohue