How Did They Get That Way?
Have you ever seen someone with a back that was almost at a 90 degree angle? Or even just an older person with a large hump in their back? How about that person with incredibly bowed legs? How did that happen?
Most people are not born with such deformities but there are a few that were so unfortunate. The rest of us have watched some of our family members, or even ourselves change over time. Scary but true, gravity affects all of us. Gravity is a force that is on us all day, everyday. Just standing up straight is an exercise against gravity. It's exhausting. How good does it feel to slide into bed and lie horizontally! Ahh.....beautiful!
With the exception of the 6 to 8 hours of sleep that we are fortunate enough to get, the other 16 to 18 hours are work just to be upright. There are some muscles that are our endurance muscles. The main endurance muscle for your back is the multifidus. Sounds impressive doesn't it? Well even if you didn't know the name of these muscles, we all have them. They are your main extensor muscles in your back that extend the entire length of your spine. They help us stay upright. They need to be firing most of the day.
Our bodies naturally look for and find an easy way out of work all the time. Slouching is the easy way. We basically allow our bones and soft tissue structures to sit on top of each other and think we are in a"comfortable position". BAD!!!
The first thing that happens in this slouched posture is the muscles in the front of our body tighten up (especially our pectoralis muscles) while the muscles in our back lengthen and get weak.
Our muscles must maintain their optimal length to generate the maximum amount of force necessary to keep us strong. Poor posture creates weak muscles on both sides of our bodies. Not only are our muscles weak but our lungs are compromised along with our circulatory system, but that's a topic for another day.
"Our bones do what muscles tell them".
This is a quote from the book "Pain Free" by Pete Egoscue). If you think about that, it's very true. when we don't stand up straight and we slouch, our spine starts to grow in that direction. If you've ever seen the aging charts, children are up straight, teenagers (on the charts) are (supposedly) straight, then middle age starts to round forward and by the time we are aged, we are so bent forward that we can hardly lift our heads up.
There are some diseases that fuse the spine into a flexed posture but for the rest of us, it is simply poor posture. Some people are more predisposed than others. We all have the ability to stave it off for a while.
I gave you my "car trick", the exercise to improve your posture while driving. Well here is another tip, look around you. When you are in the grocery store or post office, or anywhere for that matter and see someone, old or young with poor posture, stand up straight! That's right pull in your belly, raise the top of your head towards the sky, pinch those shoulder blades down and back and gently tuck in your chin. Now doesn't that feel better? You can breather easier, and believe it or not think more clearly!
Besides, you look better!
Your clothes fit better!
And the icing on the cake......you will be stronger and your body functions better!