Published In Wayne Living, June 2017 issue.
Ready to take advantage of extended daylight hours??? Inspirational, isn’t it?
Get OUT more… breathe in (and out!) the fresh air. Especially if you are lucky enough to get to the beach… watch the waves, enjoy the healing benefits of salt water ~ salt air… ahhhhh…
Majority of us walk more. Many take up recreational cycling. Cruisers are at an all-time high. Whether you are staying here in Wayne… or heading to the shore ~ your FEET and your SEAT need postural reminders to get the most out of your additional activities. Think about this… better posture fights gravity. Let’s make gravity work to our benefit!
Maybe it’s golf or tennis? Swimming, ping pong, badminton, having a catch (ball or Frisbee), Kadima ball…
Moving well makes it all the more enjoyable! ~ and beneficial.
Moving well comes from your ‘center.’ Commonly referred to as our ‘core.’ Everything core-related is postural. Once we get on our feet as toddlers… we begin moving from our extremities (arms and legs; hands and feet) ~ it’s time to get back to our centers and move with intention – gracefully through every daily activity. Even our daily tasks!
While I am about to give you specific Walking, Driving/Seated, Cycling postures… the fundamentals apply across zee board!
Basic posture ~ Neutral Spine… applies seated and standing.
SEATED (also for Driving): 3 easy pieces – Pelvis, Spine, Head
1. Find your ‘sitting bones’ ~ the 2 boney protuberances at the bottom of your pelvis. You can find them easily as you rock gently side to side. Now…imaging bicycle brakes as they squeeze together to slow your tires. Pretend your sitting bones are squeezing together like that. Feel it?!? Feeling taller and ‘lighter’ already?!? You are giving your spine the foundation for stacking UP properly. We’re opposing gravity here!
2. Now… what do we do with the part of our torso between our hips and the bottom of our ribcage? Our bellies??? We need to hold up our spines erect with our abdominal muscles. Simply PULL your belly away from your shirt. That’s it! Notice how that just made your shoulders relax? That’s because you are holding yourself up as intended ~ Your spine and your abs working together!!! Your bones and your muscles… imagine that?!?
3. Last… What do we do with this 12-15 lb. HEAD (not unlike a bowling ball) on top of the most narrow part of our spine (think toothpick!)??? This piece is actually our upper torso/spine, which ’should’ hold up our heads. Again, simple… Overlap your hands and wrap them around the back of your head at the most rounded part of your skull. Your thumbs touching the top part of that ‘dent’… the ‘occiput.’ This is where your skull floats on your spine with soft tissue. Press hands against head AND head against hands. Wow! Feels great, right?
For your Driving pleasure… Engage the seated posture; fix your review and side view mirrors. IF you cannot see out of those mirrors at any given time. You are not holding yourself UP!
When you begin to hold yourself UP like this for longer periods of time ~ you are building ENDURANCE in better posture. Which means you are gaining muscular/skeletal strength!!! BONUS! Core strengthening via better posture.
Cycling posture??? Use this seated posture reaching for the handle bars through this extended spine; lifting forward out of your hip sockets. This is a hip ‘hinge.’ Hip hinging braces your low belly ~ protecting your low back. For ‘oppositional’ energy and additional strengthening ~ feel as if you are PUSHING the handle bars away from you. Lengthening your arms…not locking. Additional benefit is taking pressure off your wrists. How about that?!? Oh, by the way… motorcycle enthusiasts ~ this works for you, too!
Ready to take a WALK??? ~ 8 simple steps to perfect walking posture.
We are going to play the game: the feet are connected to the ankle; the ankle to the shin… all the way up to the crown of our heads. Lifting our Skeletons away from gravity with our Muscles! This decompresses our joints while strengthening our muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia (soft tissue).
FIRST ~ find the seated posture while standing. Look down and make certain you are properly aligned (Foot Check!)…
HIPS > KNEES > FEET
(heels lined up behind your second toe; feet no more than 2 fists apart)
Take 8-10 STEPS each:
1. FEET: walk heel to toe
2. ANKLE: propel yourself forward heel to toe with this next piece of your walking gait
3. SHIN: this one is tricky. Just imagine ‘lifting’ your shin out of your ankle. Imagery… you need not literally pick up your shin. IMAGERY will apply for next steps, as well.
FEELING TALLER AND LIGHTER ALREADY???
4. KNEE: Lift your knee cap UP off your shin
5. THIGH BONE: Lift UP from your knee cap
6. HIP SOCKETS: Pretend they are huge eyeballs and you are opening UP as wide as possible.
BY NOW YOU MIGHT FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE A NEW ATTITUDE!
7. BELLY!!! Put your little finger at your bellybutton; your thumb at your breastbone (where your ribs create an inverted “V”) PULL your hand apart by lifting the breastbone UP. (This is ‘belly away from the shirt’ in the seated posture. BEST move to awaken the core!)
8. HEAD!!! Lift your ear UP away from your shoulders; crown of your head UP to the clouds!
NOW… how about adding some breath to all of this? Breathing is a missing link for core strength and stress relief.
Sitting and walking ~ and EVERYTHING-ing this way creates more core strength. Adding intentional breathing not only intensifies abdominal strength (bottom to top and all the way around the torso!)… it brings additional stress relief to the relief we are giving our bodies by holding them UP against gravity.
Simply inhale FULLY ~ exhale FULLY. Intentionally. It’s a mini-meditation!
Have a happy June!