Power Posture – For life … and running
Your mother was right! “Stand up Straight”, “Don’t slouch”. But what she likely didn’t mention was how to actually create good posture and why. Whether you are a walker or runner, good posture is foundational for physical health and performance. Good posture helps you look better, feel better, and perform better.
Keys to effective posture.
- What is it. Of the 206 bones in your body, 68 are directly related to the process of being properly positioned one on another. The term “Dynamic Stacking” describes how our bones and related joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons interact to effectively absorb impact and create propulsion. Many of us vary our posture (unintentionally) away from the optimal position based on several factors. Physical, mental or emotional fatigue, depression, loneliness, inactivity, chronic pain and structural weakness all tend toward slouching and “un-stacking”. Taller individuals, especially young adults, often subconsciously slouch or draw down to the average height of surrounding populations.
- In athletics, ‘un-stacking’ can diminish or break your performance. Of even greater importance however are the negative health effects of long-term poor posture in our daily-life. Consequences include chronic muscle strain, neck and back pain, headaches and limits in breathing. If not addressed, structural changes occur. Disc and joint degeneration, muscle fibrosis and imbalances as well as cardiac, lung and digestive dysfunction all can become permanent. This deterioration is gradual and subtle but once manifested, have a life-altering impact.
- The good news. Positive change is attainable! By being intentional and proactive with your postural choices you can lessen, and in many cases reverse negative outcomes. Being mindful of your body position, making appropriate adjustments whenever possible. Practice finding and maintaining your optimal posture while sitting, standing, walking and running. Work on full body strength and core stability by engaging in regular muscle-challenging exercise. This is an important addition to your walking or running routines. If you are experiencing chronic pain or discomfort you can be greatly helped by our muscle/joint release therapies which free up restricted structures allowing for better function and new ranges of motion. Additionally, you will receive simple and effective exercises to optimize your progress.
- How…Finding the position. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and look straight ahead. Take a deep breath (a full inhale). Feel your chest and spine unravel opening upward. At the full- breath point HOLD your posture (including head, shoulders, back and feet) then slowly exhale. The posture you are now in is personally optimal for your design. You can tell how far your regular posture deviates from optimal by releasing your body and returning your head, neck and shoulders back to being ‘comfortable’. For some of us there is quite a difference, for others, not so much.
A quick posture check while walking or running can be done by visualizing a line pulling upward from the top of your head. In our “Seven Arrows of (Awesome) Running” Blog post, https://myrunningdr.com/7-arrows-of-running-form/ this ‘check’ is the first and foundational “arrow”… the UP Arrow.
So stand tall, breathe deeply, get your ‘stacking’ figured out and … if your mother has given you good advice, follow it! Runners, be sure to take advantage of our unique “Video Running Form Analysis’. Establish optimal running posture, minimize injury and learn strategies for your future running success! If you have questions or comments please contact us through our website, by email or by phone. We look forward to connecting with you all soon. Have an active, healthy month!