Is your posture aging you?
Would you like to look taller and slimmer?
What if you had more endurance and energy?
Do you suffer from tension headaches and tight, achey shoulders?
Have you considered working on your posture?
Pay attention to how often during the day your head is forward and looking down. Oh those screens!! They are causing so much trouble!!
This habitual posture shortens some of the muscles of the neck, and this is where a lot of our headaches and trigger points come from.
Adding insult to injury…poor posture makes you look older and shorter.
These posture changes can also reduce your shoulder mobility and lead to problems like rotator cuff tears.
Now you really feel old.
How does breathing, energy, and endurance fit in?
With forward head posture
- the head constricts the throat thereby blocking the amount of air you can take in
- the thoracic spine rounds and rib cage stiffens, thereby blocking the diaphragm and intercostal musclds from contracting and expanding fully
- the accessory muscles of breathing get short, tight, and weak with posture changes, therefore fatiguing faster and contributing further to the problem
And the research has demonstrated this to be true: “Forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 second were significantly lower in the forward head posture group than in the normal group. ” (read more here.)
If you are noticing more difficulty breathing while you’re running, more headaches from greater neck tension, reduced cervical range of motion, and more difficulty with abdominal breathing in your yoga classes, you’re feeling the effects of these posture changes on your breath.
Can forward head posture be reversed?
While it may never get to perfect, you can always make it better and prevent further progression and breakdown.
Let’s look at my 3-step process for reversing forward head posture:
1. Correct your posture in your everyday positions.
- Check out your ergonomics at home and see what you can adjust to optimize your alignment. Laptops are convenient, but ergonomically deadly.
- Note the position of your head between your shoulders when you drive. Work to stack the head on an upright spine so you can feel the reduction of pressure go back to that normal 10lb bowling ball.
- Keep your rib cage stacked over the pelvis, and double check yourself by observing the ease of your breath in your posture. That’s a great clue to notice if you’re aligned well or not.
- Intentionally set up your standing posture then try to maintain it while standing in line or at the sink. (Bonus you’ll look taller and thinner when you stand with correct posture!)
2. Build strength to hold this new alignment.
- When muscles are pulled out of their normal resting position their behavior changes.Like goldilocks, if they are too stretched out or too shortened, they can’t function optimally, they need to be at just right length, which requires neutral positioning (see above).
- See the video below for some sample posture strengthening exercises. When you’re ready for more, sign up for the free 5-days of yoga series that will help you reverse these postural changes and other signs of aging.
3. Build endurance
- You are fighting the force of gravity all day long. Build postural endurance so you can sit straighter longer. That comes from repeated exercises that target those structures prone to tightness and weakness.
Knowing which side to stretch and which to strengthen is important. And understanding correct functional movement patterns vs. compensatory patterns is also important so that you know you are doing things correctly and reinforcing the right pieces of the equation.
This is where working with a Physical Therapist can help save you time and personalize your exercise program.
For more information and to get started with your personalized program, click the link below.
To get you started right away I’ve created this short video for to start combatting your forward head posture.
When you are ready for more, click the button below and I’ll send you a short practice every day for 5 days to help you continue reversing the signs of aging and improving your posture.