Makeover Monday: Sitting Tall and Proud

As I might have mentioned once or twice, I might have a possible sports injury. While that’s a romantic notion to the newly fitter girl, the problem is equally (or more) likely to be a possible bad posture injury. Not nearly so glam, is it?

To add to your Little Known Facts About Cammy file: Has bad posture habits.

I sit with my legs crossed—a lot. I also slouch/hunch forward, and it’s worse when my legs are crossed. Finally, I lean forward and jut my chin out while reading the monitor.

I’m not sure when I developed these bad posture habits, but I can distinctly remember my mother telling me to “Sit up straight!” and “Stop slouching!” That was high school, if I remember correctly, a very long time ago. The advent of the computer age hasn’t helped any. I spend hours at a computer all day and then often come home and do the same. I do get up frequently to do other things around the office or the house, but bad posture is bad posture, even in small doses.

Okay, enough about me and my problems (real or imaginery.) I spent an inordinate amount of time this weekend contemplating posture, and what I really want to do is share what I’ve learned about posture. Or maybe ‘re-learned’ is a better way to say it, because I heard a lot of it from my mother many moons ago.

From the American Chiropractic Society website, here are some guidelines for good posture.

First for sitting:

Keep your feet on the floor or on a footrest, if they don’t reach the floor.
Don’t cross your legs. Your ankles should be in front of your knees.
Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat.
Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips.
Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support.
Relax your shoulders and keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.

Now standing:

Bear your weight primarily on the balls of your feet.
Keep your knees slightly bent.
Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart.
Let your arms hang naturally down the sides of the body.
Stand straight and tall with your shoulders pulled backward.
Tuck your stomach in.
Keep your head level-your earlobes should be in line with your shoulders. Do not push your head forward, backward, or to the side.
Shift your weight from your toes to your heels, or one foot to the other, if you have to stand for a long time.

And finally, my favorite position, horizontal:

Find the mattress that is right for you. While a firm mattress is generally recommended, some people find that softer mattresses reduce their back pain. Your comfort is important.
Sleep with a pillow. Special pillows are available to help with postural problems resulting from a poor sleeping position.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Sleeping on your side or back is more often helpful for back pain.
If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.
If you sleep on your back, keep a pillow under your knees.

Other than mindfulness, there are other “helping tools”, yoga and stretching.

A few helpful videos:
Williams’ Flex Exercise for Good Posture

Shoulder Squeeze Exercise to Promote Good Posture
(Free Cammy tip: Don’t forget to breathe during this one! I almost passed out. *g*)
One more (and one I *love*): Cat Stretch Exercise to Promote Good Posture

And for those of you who can’t easily access youtube, the fine folks at sparkpeople.com have some online stretching demos that aren’t quite as bandwith-intensive.

Good posture is important always, but especially so when we’re adopting more active lifestyles. We want need our bones in alignment to support the development of strong, healthy muscles and ligaments. Funny how it’s all interconnected, huh? :)

What are your bad posture habits? Do you think it/they affect your fitness efforts?
Any tips or suggestions for improving? I’m all ears. And limbs.

I hope you’re sitting tall and proud this morning and that you’ll walk with purpose (and in alignment) throughout the day and all the days ahead.

~