Friday, March 27, 2009

Learning to Remember

I’m the poster child for bad posture. I lean on the water faucet when pouring a glass of water. I lean on the counter when I’m waiting for something to cook on the stove. I slouch. I cross my legs. I lean over too far on the elliptical. I’m a posture wreck.

I began my efforts to improve my posture a few years ago when I added functional training techniques to my workout. But in time, I stopped doing them, mostly because I switched up my routine and, I admit, it was hard (said in my best whine). In the last few weeks, I’ve reintroduced a few back into my strength training regimen, such as standing on one foot during bicep curls (alternating halfway through a set) and laying on an exercise ball during triceps work and chest presses. The purpose is to improve balance and strengthen the core, thereby improving posture.

Still I get lazy and lean.

I found some good articles online on how to improve posture. How To Improve Your Posture on WikiHow offers practical tips on how to sit properly in an office chair, stand, stretch, things like that. You can find help on YouTube, too. But you know and I know that we can read and observe and study until we’re blue in the face, but unless we remember to utilize what we’ve learned when we need that knowledge the most, all that learning is for naught.

So here’s what I’m doing to improve my posture: I’m learning to remember.

My body is an excellent teacher if I’d just let it be. I get so preoccupied with thoughts that I forget to pay attention to what my body is doing behind my back. By not questioning the sensations and listening to my body, my mind ends up making all the decisions. This inattention, in large part, is how I got to be 300 pounds, and it’s why I find myself day after day leaning, slouching and shuffling along.

Learning to remember to pay attention to my body helped me lose weight and it will help me improve my posture. I’m determined it will. Being aware of my hand leaning on the counter or spigot, listening to my knee stiffen up as I cross one leg over the other, feeling my back arch and my neck crack because they aren’t aligned properly – these are the things I have to listen to.

The path of least resistance (read: being lazy) is causing my body all kinds of headaches, so the leaning and slouching has to stop.

How do you remember to listen to your body? Have you made an effort to improve your posture? Any words of wisdom you’d like to pass along would be appreciated.

2 comments:

Shelley said...

As for my posture, I really notice it when I'm in the gym...I'll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirrors and throw my shoulders back. I also try to remember that standing up straighter makes me look thinner! But it's a hard habit to break, the slouching. Baby steps...

Vickie said...

I was going to mention the mirror thing also.

Traditional yoga studios do NOT have mirrors (yoga is within - not without - in a mirror) but I have taken classes occasionally in non-studio settings (gym, dance facility) where there are mirrors. What a wake up call! One of the biggest posture helpers for me now is the seat in my car - very conscious of how ALL of my back is in the relation to the car seat.

As I lost my weight - and my strength and posture improved (REALLY posture now) I actually 'grew' a half inch.