By Pam Levin
Nearly every morning, somewhere between 6-8am, I head into the gym to exercise. My exercises range from cardio work, to high intensity full body work, to weight-lifting and muscle building. Recently, I even added some boxing movements to my exercise scene. But I also do many different movements I have learned through my years of being a dancer. Many of these moves deal with coordination, extension, balance, and flow. And most importantly, I focus on my posture…my head-to-toe alignment.
When I was a very young girl, I used to compete in a game called "eraser tag" which many elementary school teachers used as a small diversion or a get-out-of-your-desk/seat exercise to break the routine of the school day. I excelled at this game. The game consisted of being able to balance a light chalk board eraser (remember those?) on your head, while another student (with an eraser on his head) was supposed to chase and tag you. So, with the eraser upon your head, you not only had to be great at balancing a very light object, but also be able to move quickly in and around rows of desks so not to be caught by the chaser. If you dropped the eraser off your head during the chase or if you were tagged, you were OUT, and had to sit down. You had one full minute to elude the chaser or defensively dart from him. If you could keep the eraser upon your head for that minute before you were tagged out or before HE dropped his eraser, you were given the next challenge: another new chaser!
After a few times, I learned that the key to this game was not necessarily how fast I could move and evade the chaser but how well I could balance that eraser. And the balancing act all started with my Posture.
If I could stand tall, shoulders back, head level with chin not too ajar AND be quick footed, I could keep that tiny eraser centered on the top of my head and move like the speed of a bullet. It was really all about my Posture.
And as a young girl learning to dance, posture was of utmost importance. It meant everything…from alignment to beautiful graceful "lines". The proper posture positioned me for the aesthetics of a dancer..heck…have you ever seen a dancer who slouches? Not!
Posture speaks loudly to those we first meet. Your stance, your body positioning and your posture help to define your body fitness, your confidence and your approachability to others. Research has proven that those with stand-tall great postures are more likely to exude confidence during a job interview. And when it comes to personal things like romance and physical attraction, those with great postures stand out and make a better first impression than over those round-shouldered “slouchers.”
But aside from the beauty of good posture, there are anatomical and physical affects from long term poor posture/slouching such as decreased energy and reduced circulation. Continued poor posture can cause chronic backaches, shoulder pain and a host of other anatomically related problems and physical stress all because your posterior chain is not being held it its optimal position!
So whats the fix? First, stand in front of a mirror and have a friend help you to see what your current posture looks like versus what it SHOULD look like. Sometimes we don't FEEL our posture is poor until we actually look into the mirror and see what a good, strong, posture should look and FEEL like. Make the necessary adjustments. It will take time. Practice feeling tall, upright and elongated whenever you walk.
Keep your lats and shoulders back…not to the point of being uncomfortable….just to where you can comfortably expand your chest. This may seem pretty weird and strange at first, but as you practice staying comfortable in the correct Postural position, your brain soon learns how this correct posture should FEEL….then your muscles adapt…soon, the uncomfortable feeling turns to comfort…adaptability.
So now think of all of the benefits of your new posture:
1. better alignment—better health–less aches/pains—less stress on ligaments/joints
2. less fatigue
3. better balance and coordination
4. appear to exude more self confidence
5. seemingly “taller”, not heavy looking
Practice Picture Perfect Posture. You will not only look amazingly beautiful, but you will FEEL it too!
About the Author:
Pamela Levin is founder and President of Create Amazing Health, LLC and the self branded website PassionatelyPam.com . She turns health upside down and on its side by fusing ancient holistic wellness disciplines with cutting edge health ideas. Her academic education includes schooling in engineering and business (MBA-University of Michigan) with additional training from the Deepak Chopra Center in Perfect Health. Her mission is to help others understand and participate in the changing paradigm of health and wellness. She is a thought leader, Huffington Post blogger, motivational speaker and catalyst for health change, determined to inspire others and make (being) healthy FUN! Connect with Pam on Facebook, Twitter, or Soundcloud.