It starts early in life and is enormously difficult to correct once you are set. It will lead to back pains, poor breathing, and a host of other issues that won’t appear for another 20 years.
I’ve have fairly miserable posture for most of my life. I would slump while sitting, slouch while standing, and probably even curl up while lying down. When people would ask how tall I am and I tell them 6’3″, invariably the response would be similar to “Really? You don’t seem that tall.”
I vowed (“resolved”, even?) to get past this right after Thanksgiving of last year. Like a drug addict who’s hit rock bottom, my bottom was seeing pictures from my brother’s wedding. Despite being taller than both of them, I looked shorter than them in almost every picture I can remember, and was fed up.
No more poor posture.
I dug out a book I had purchased a few years back, Posture, Get it Straight! by Janice Novak. While the book was written for someone quite a few years older and quite a few pounds heavier than myself (the subtitle is “Look Ten Years Younger, Ten Pounds Thinner and Feel Better Than Ever”, after all), and had illustrations of 50-year old woman in leotards smattered throughout the book, the principles laid out throughout the book, especially in the first two chapters, were solid.
For the past 8 weeks now, I have started the following.
- Every time I catch myself slouching, I consciously sit upright with the “perfect posture” principle in the book.
- Whenever I head to the gym, I focus more intensely on posture than every before: shoulders low and back, chest out, head and neck back.
- Occasionally I will turn on the Yoga DVD that we have and run through that, as the stretching invariably helps limber up my back.
- I’ve incorporate 2-3 core workouts into my weekly regimen. Good posture requires a strong core, both front and back. (I will detail this in a future blog post)
The results The first two weeks were tough. I caught myself slouching 10-20 times per day. When I would correct myself, my back would make snapping and popping noises. I would go to bed with an aching back at the end of the day.
But it is getting better. At least I think so. My back doesn’t pop or snap anymore. The corrections I have to take are fewer. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I definitely see improvement. And I definitely feel taller. Whereas my wife used to seem ~9-10 inches shorter than me, she is now the appropriate 12 inches shorter than me. I haven’t had any comments about how tall I don’t look in these past 8 weeks. Yes, things are looking up.
I will update this post as time goes on.