Winter’s “Hidden” Toll

A post about posture!

One of the recommendations that I give to almost all of my clients involves postural awareness. Basically, it’s to check in with yourself a couple times a day and evaluate your posture and comfort. Some example questions:

  • Are you comfortable? Or do you feel pain/discomfort anywhere?
  • Is your head heavy or light?
  • Are your shoulders rounding forward or approaching your ears? Is your chest collapsed?
  • Is your core engaged and helping to support you or are you slumped over?
  • Are you generally hunched over or tall/upright?

The first question is the most important to ask yourself. If you feel discomfort or pain, then you figure out where and why. It’s a great way to help take charge of your own wellness. This is something that I do in my own life pretty regularly, though I tend to do it when I am at my computer. The other day I decided to check in while I was taking my daily walk.  Here’s what I found:

  • The front side of my body from my knees to my head was shortened, and my back side was elongated.
  • My chest was collapsed and my shoulders elevated as close to my ears as they could go.
  • My neck was rounded forward, but my chin was slightly elevated so I could see.
  • My core was totally disengaged and my back muscles were elongated. The muscles along the sides of my body were trying to balance the two.
  • I felt terrible.

This is not my normal walking posture at all. This was in response to the cold (it was around 10 degrees) and the icy sidewalks. I realized that when the footing is treacherous, I feel the need to constantly scan the ground directly in front of me, to establish the safest path. My chest collapse/shoulder elevation were due to the cold.

Once I adjusted my posture, I felt much more comfortable, and I wasn’t any colder. I still had to check the ground directly in front of me on occasion, but it wasn’t necessary to do for most of the time.

I would imagine that many of my readers and clients do something similar this time of year. It seems like a natural response to hazardous conditions. I’d like to encourage you all to start doing these check ins if you aren’t already.  It’s a quick and easy way to help yourself, and sometimes what you find will be pretty interesting.

Please be respectful of the community. Offensive language and/or ad hominem attacks are unwelcome.

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