Mobility or Flexibility: Posture Follows Movement Like a Shadow
In my 25 years of being a Chiropractor, I’ve learned one thing for sure, Posture and Mobility are kissing cousins. There is a saying by an English physiologist Charles Sherrington, “Posture follows movement like a shadow” and it most certainly does. You just can’t separate the two. The one thing we need to be able to enjoy life, especially as we age, is the ability to move well. We simply can’t and won’t move well if we don’t have good posture. Take a look around and see for yourself. The people that move the best in older age have decent posture and the people that don’t or can’t move well have poor posture. Which came first, their poor posture or their inability to move well? Let me answer that one for you, they occurred at the same time.
Why is good posture important?
Posture use to be something that was important. It was taught as a fundamental principle of health by our teachers and parents. Some of us remember having to walk with books on our heads to demonstrate that we had good, upright posture. Good posture is simply good alignment of the spine. It also hinges on good core strength and core mobility. Mobility is the ability to move through “loaded” ranges of motion. In other words, to move through full ranges of motion carrying weight, like the weight of our body for example. Being able to fully squat down and lift something heavy off the ground, like a bag of potting soil for example. That requires good mobility and good mobility requires good posture. We have 53 joints in our spine and those joints all need to be aligned in perfect position for the spine to be able to move well. Posture hinges on alignment. When your spine is in proper alignment, you have the best chance for good posture and good mobility. This is an active process, not a passive one. It takes work to have great posture, alignment and mobility. However, the pay-off is freedom because when you can move well, you are free to move about the country.
3 Tips for Better Posture and Mobility:
- Be aware of your posture: You simply can’t change something you’re not aware of so remind yourself and use posture apps on your smartphones. Imagine that someone was pulling you up by a string through the top of your head like a puppet. That’s what you want to think of.
- Strengthen your core: If you core isn’t strong, you won’t have good posture. What holds our spine in its normal position? Correct, muscles. There are hundreds of muscles that attach to the spine and if they are weak from disuse, you won’t have the strength to hold you upright against gravity. Good posture depends on good core strength. What are you doing to strengthen your core?
- Sit up straight and take sitting breaks: So many of us sit for long periods of time. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your spine upright. Try to keep your butt as far back in the chair as possible. Lastly, take a break and do “wall angels” or a “bruggers postural reset” (look it up or ask the doctor).
We take our health for granted and certainly take our posture for granted. Whether you care about esthetics, proper aging or better mobility, they are few things that you can do that will pay bigger dividends than work on improving your posture. Make sure you look out for, and attend our better posture workshop called “Stop Humping in Public” (think about it) dinner with the doc talk. Before we end this article, sit up straight and/or stand up tall!
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