Thursday, June 16, 2011

Step 8: Take pride in your posture

The Desk Warriors Guide To Building A Healthy Back 8/10

Strong men stand tall. Weak men slouch. Attractive people have good posture. Studies show that good posture is valued by the opposite sex. Good posture is perceived to coincide with self-confidence, youthfullness and general health. It also makes one appear taller which has been shown to correlate with increasing salaries and job opportunities in men.

No sane person prefers a slouch to a more fit healthy posture. Great posture as in a West Point Cadet demands respect. Proper posture exudes self confidence and self confidence will enhance countless areas of ones life.

On the contrary, think of a creep. Really, take a second, close your eyes and picture your textbook definition of a creep. What did their posture look like? I can guarantee they weren't standing tall and proud like our West Point Cadets. The creep on the other hand is characterized by a bent spine, internally rotated shoulders and raptor-arms. The creep does not follow my blog and maintain a healthy spine, rather they develop their hunched posture and shoulder internal rotation via too much facebook creeping and masturbation to internet porn. Don't be a creep; follow my blog.

As we age, we decrease in height. On average we lose .4 inches every 10 years after the age of 40. Women lose more then men due to increased bone loss via osteoporosis. A great deal of this loss of height is attributed to poor posture.

There are a few main reasons for this loss of height. One, the poor posture and resultant kyphosis and or anterior pelvic tilts mechanically shorten us; limiting the vertical heights of our spines. Two, the resultant poor posture coupled with aging accelerates the degeneration of cartilage at the joints (ankle, knee, hip, vertebrae etc...) The resultant cartilage loss will decrease height. Proper posture will limit movement impairment syndromes that accelerate the degradation of cartilage. Three, disc hydration and joint hydration via decreased synovial fluid will decrease joint space and height. Four, vertebral discs may rupture or bulge creating decreased intervertebral disc space and thus decreased height. Five, osteoprosis and osteopenia decrease height by turning our big hard bones into softer spongier; more compressed and less robust bones. Six, loss of muscle mass coincides with a less erect posture and decreased height.

How can we maintain our posture and height?

What can we do to improve our posture and maintain our height, health, and hotness? To improve posture, improve thoracic extension by foam rolling and stretching and also stretch your hip flexors. The hip flexors include your psoas and iliacus as well as rectus femoris. Do these simple stretches to make sure your hip-flexors are not overly tight. Tight hip flexors pull you into a bent over, shortened posture. They increase lumbar extensor activity and can lead to LBP. If you sit more than 2 hours per day, you can pretty much guarantee you would benefit from stretching your hip flexors. Check out the BEST hip flexor stretch below which we call the "couch stretch."

When standing up from the seated posture that molds our tight hip flexors; ensure optimal posture by first pushing your hips forward with your hands and leaning back into elongated extension. Aim to push your rib cage upward off your hips and pushing your hips forward, creating length in the spine. Do this a few times to help return the disc nucleus to equilibrium (remember from the sit less post that prolonged lumbar flexion via sitting pushes the nucleus of the disc posteriorly or backwards) , next externally rotate the arms and lift the chest. Focus on pulling the head backwards and elongating your middle or thoracic spine. Congratulations, you are now in ideal posture. Now go for a walk and take pride in your tall, sexilicious posture.

Simply being conscious of your posture is enough to limit this progression towards hunchback-dom. With hunchback-dom inevitably comes increased orthopedic problems. Loss of thoracic extension results in increased lumbar and cervical flexion. These two things increase the risk of herniation. Lumbar disc herniation is greatest in the 20’s while the spinal vertebrea are their most spry. However, cervical disc herniation is something of a more degenerative nature which increases with age.

In conclusion, focusing on the prior principles illustrated through this back health series will help you maintain your or rehabilitate your posture to pain free, tall and in charge as you age. Make posture a priority; something you take pride in and you will inevitably avoid the many downfalls of a hunched spine. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for part 9!

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