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  1. Finishing School: Posture

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    One of my favorite vintage blogs is Lottie Loves, run by Brit-turned-California super-mom Lottie. One regular feature of her blog is Finishing School, where she alphabetically runs through goals and post challenges for her followers to complete. Since I'm late to the game, I am going to start posting backwards from the latest, starting with O and then try to catch up. She posts them one a month so if I'm on the ball I will catch up in no time!

    Your Challenge:

    Get someone to take a photograph of you standing from the side, front and back. Now, stand back against against a wall, head against the wall, shoulders relaxed (not hunched up) and back against the wall and heels against the wall. Walk one step forward in this position and have a another set of photographs taken. This is a fairly crude way of assessing your posture but I can guarantee the results will make you think about how you look and whether or not you need to improve your posture. Notice that when you stand tall you look slimmer, confident, your breasts look firmer and you look younger. If all of those things don’t motivate you to complete this challenge then we have much, much more work to do in Finishing School.

    Set to work on your posture straight away. Every morning when you have a shower stand tall, shoulders back (but down, not hunched towards your neck, draw your shoulder blades down you back), and feel your body change from slouch to tall. If you get into the habit of adjusting yourself it will soon become natural. Do this every morning for two weeks and notice the change. As the saying goes ‘start as you mean to go on’.

    When you’re walking anywhere be conscious to adjust yourself and stand tall, chin down with neck in line with spine – too many people walk with their heads forward like shrimps. At first this will be hard and you will only be able to do it for a few minutes as it will make you tired but as your muscles get used to holding you upright it will get easier.

    Commit to two 30 minute sessions of exercise per week focused on core strength and posture. Ideally a Yoga class is the best way to go, or specific gym exercises. If you have gym membership use it. Do two sessions this week and next week focused on your core and posture. Any exercise is better than no exercise and will contribute to your core strength. Walk the kids to school and jog back, lift some weights at home, join a class. There are plenty of TV, Internet, book resources to help you form a good routine at home. I do 15 minutes of posture exercises twice a day at home.

    If you have bad posture and are suffering as a result then seek help. Bad posture can cause headaches, various join pains, back ache and all sorts of problems. I was using 4 Ibuprofen a day for headaches and now after 6 weeks of therapy I take less than two a week – the effort has been so worth it. I recommend Physiotherapy (or Physical Therapy if you’re in the US). Just seek a referral from your Dr .If you’re a member of a gym then arrange to have a personal session with a fitness instructor to develop a routine of exercises to improve core strength and posture – these are normally free.

     When I went for my massage on Thursday, the MT and I talked about how my work is screwing up my back. Because I spend a lot of the time at the computer, my shoulders tend to hunch and I tend to strain my neck by looking at the screen. Also, the left portion of my back next to my spine was much tighter than the other side. I attribute this to my phone interview method: head tilted to sandwich my phone between my right shoulder while typing. Yup, that'll screw up a back mighty fine. I even sometimes get nasty headaches that radiate down my neck behind my ears from my bad posture. I need some ergonomic furniture for my office. 
    My bad posture. Ugh, that's so bad! ( Also, excuse the granny slippers :/)

    My MT recommended that about 10 times a day I do a shoulder check to see where they are and force them down where they're supposed to be. It hurts right now but I know as I get stronger it won't. She also suggested to do lots of stretches and take breaks. I found these desk exercises on Youtube but I haven't really tried them out yet.

    I think what I will struggle the most with is doing exercise. I try to walk as much as I can, but I'm not one for strength exercises (I know, that's so bad). I am hoping to get to the pool more this summer, which will work out all my muscles so they stretch easier as I adjust my posture - or so I hope. I'm also riding my bike more, which requires a straight back and your head forward, so let's hope that helps me too!

    As I continue to do outfit posts, let's hope to see some improvement. Don't be afraid to point out to me if I look like a hunchback, I won't get mad.

  2. 2 comments:

    1. Lottie said...

      Fabulous post. I'm so excited that you're joining in. Don't forget to link up to my post as you'd be surprised how many people read them. Computers are the bane of our posture. The desk exercises make a huge difference so worth the effort. I no longer get headaches. I've also started yoga which took a lot of courage but I now love. Exercise is the only answer unfortunately. Good luck! Xx

    2. Oh I know I must exercise, I'm just such a wuss when it comes to working out. I really hope swimming and biking helps with some of it, as it's easier to do exercise that I enjoy.
      Thanks for posting these Lottie! I look forward to working on the rest.

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