Several years ago I was in so much pain that I couldn’t walk down stairs. My back spasms had progressed to a point where all I did was stand in one position and cry. I had four children to care for and a house on the market. It was late Friday and I couldn’t imagine how I would live until Monday without moving before seeing Dr. McMaster.
One phone call and Dr. McMaster was in his office Saturday morning. He relieved some of the immediate pain and taught me how to stand and walk again. Daily exercises to reduce the spasms, improve weak muscles and correct my posture, and I was back to myself in no time.
Dr. McMaster has a long history of helping people to correct their posture and make incredible changes in their health. Remember that it’s never too late and you’re never too old! ~ Gail
~ by: Dr. Brian McMaster
Did you know that standing straight will affect your:
Did you know with just a few changes each day you can enjoy improvement in all of these and more?
The benefits of good posture are well-documented.
- Sitting up straight when you’re sitting affects not only how others think about you, but also what you think about yourself. Research from Ohio State University shows that posture affects what we think about ourselves and the results we achieve.
- Balance is important to the elderly and requires cognitive skills to keep your balance and posture.
- Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, from Harvard Business School demonstrated how our posture affects the amount of testosterone and cortisol in our brain, and therefore our self-confidence. A confident power pose increases testosterone by 20% and decreases cortisol by 25%, making your more relaxed, confident and fearless.
- Muscle and skeletal disorders caused by poor posture trigger 40% of worker’s compensation cases resulting in pain, lost wages and lost production.
- 90% of a listener’s first impressions don’t change after hearing someone speak. In other words, your first impressions make as strong an impression as what you say.
- In a study published in the journal, Biofeedback, study participants were asked to rate their energy levels after walking in a slouched position or skipping with straight posture. Each rated more energy while skipping.
You may already know that good posture is good for you. But, if you are like many of the people who come through the doors of my practice, you might believe that, “It’s too hard,” or “I’m too busy to remember all day,” or “I’m too tired to do that all day,” or “It hurts.”
You might think those things too. Your days are busy, filled with family, work and activities that take time, energy and motivation. Adding just one more thing to your already full plate might feel overwhelming. But, here’s the interesting part . . .
Generally these concerns also mean, “I don’t know how to make this happen.”
What if you knew how to enjoy good posture with just a few small changes? Because good posture is vital to your health, your job performance, your ability to earn a better income, your relationships and your self-confidence, are you willing to make those small changes?
Changing your posture is non-invasive and is something you can do at home – and it’s FREE.
The only thing it will cost you is a bit of time, a small bit of time. The dividends it pays are priceless, for the rest of your life and the life of your children.
The next step is to follow a plan that will help you develop the muscles, posture and strength you need to enjoy these benefits . . . better health, relationships, financial stability, job, looks, energy and self-image.
So, here’s your plan:
- You will be taking advantage of something called neuromuscular memory. The more you practice, the better your muscle memory and the easier it will be to maintain better posture throughout the day.
- Become aware of your spine. Good posture starts at the top of your head and ends at your bottom. Think about where your shoulders are in space, the curve of your spine near your hips, and the angle of your body as it sits over your hips. Are you leaning forward? Are your shoulders hunched? The more you think about it, the better your posture becomes.
- Let’s review the details of sitting, standing and walking.
- Stand with your feet straight
- Keep your knees inside your ankles
- Pull your navel to your spine and keep your pelvic floor tight
- Relax your back & buttock
- Support your low back at the top of your pelvis
- Keep your shoulder blades back & down
- Tighten abdominals to pull the front of the ribs down to the front of the pelvis
- Tuck your chin back
- This level of detail realistically should only be performed for 5 second intervals
- Performance improves with practice and no one is perfect to begin with. Your body gives you part marks for small improvements
- Initially stand 8-10 inches in front of a wall to brace from falling
- Stand with your toes up and weight back on your heels
- Keep your feet Straight
- Shift your body weight back
- Relax your back and buttock
- Allow your lower abdominals to reflexively contact to control falling backwards
- Keep your shoulder blades back and down
- Tuck your chin back
Many of us naturally stand leaning forward, over our toes, instead of with our weight through the heels. Practice standing correctly when you’re waiting in line, standing in the elevator or working at home. Just 5 seconds at a time allows you to do this frequently enough to stimulate a new pattern in the nervous system.
- Start with proper standing form described above
- Move your right leg forward
- Move your right shoulder blade back and down as your right leg goes forward
- Rotate your right arm so that the palm is facing forward as your arm comes back
- Relax your right side and follow the same steps on the left side
- Do these briefly and frequently. About 3 times every hour get up and practice standing correctly, walking forward for 10 steps and sitting using good posture. Recent research supports the need to get up several times an hour to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. When you are getting up to stretch and move for 2 minutes, practice standing and walking. You’ll be getting double the benefits for your time.
- Every morning and evening take 3 minutes to do an exercise to activate the muscles in your back which will help reduce upper back pain and discomfort and get your ready for great posture.
Morning Activation Exercise:
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor or bed
- Keep knees together and drop them to one side
- Tighten your buttocks to bring your hip back and up toward your spine
- Move your opposite side shoulder and rotate arm so your palm is facing up.
- Pull your shoulder blade back and down toward spine
- This can activate muscles. Most often muscles have been over stretched during sleep and are stiff but do not need more stretching, with brief activation they will relax and reduce stiffness and soreness
Practicing the right way to sit, stand and walk each hour will help create a pattern in your nervous system. Over time this repetition helps the movements to become automatic.
In other words, you’re creating a habit.
You know that flossing your teeth each evening means your dental cleanings are easier and less painful. The same is true for developing good habits for sitting, standing and walking. If you have experienced back pain, you know that you can’t splint it the way you can an injured arm or leg. It doesn’t matter what position you are in, you’ll be acutely aware of the pain and discomfort each time your body moves even slightly.
But, by doing these simple exercises each day, you’ll be laying the foundation for a healthy posture and reliable spine for a lifetime.
These simple steps pay you benefits in feeling better, looking more confident, having more energy and preventing aches, pains and repetitive strain injuries which can slow you down for weeks.