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By: Dr. Joanne Z Moore, PT, DHSC, OCS

Health WellnessWe instinctively size each other up by interpreting body language. A person who enters a room standing tall with a friendly smile is likely to be greeted warmly, even by strangers. A person entering that same room with rounded spine and head down will probably not be greeted at all. Our posture teaches others how to treat us. Does that mean that poor posture can cause loneliness? Well, maybe. And since loneliness one of our major concerns, it is worth looking into. 

What is bad posture and do I have it?

Bad posture is sloppy. Usually it’s rounded in the spine, caused by grief, depression, muscle weakness, laziness, or fatigue. Who wants to reach out and be friends with someone who is sloppy, lazy, and depressed? Honestly, there are people who will, but they are also probably sloppy, lazy, and depressed. “Birds of a feather flock together”.

I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic. I know firsthand that during grieving and its exhaustion, that standing upright is more than is physically possible. I’ve been on walks where I had to sit down because the physical act of walking was too much. Thankfully, that severe stage of grieving does pass, and our energy starts to return to normal. That’s when we want to take a look in the mirror and interrupt that posture before it becomes a habit.

What is good posture and how can I get it?

Good posture is a way of holding oneself so that all body parts are in optimum position for their function. That sounds complicated. Let’s take it step by step.
The plumb line should touch the earlobe, the shoulder, the hip, and the ankle bone.

• Forward head? Do chin tucks
• Rounded spine? Do Is, Ys, and Ts
• Rounded shoulders? Do rows and stretch those pecs
• Arched low back? Strengthen those abs with pelvic tilts and abdominal curls.
• Feet: High arches? Put good shock absorbers in your shoes. Flat feet? Get arch supports

One more thing

One other habit that develops during grieving is a slowed pace of walking. It becomes so natural that we don’t realize it until we’re walking with someone else, and we need to hustle to keep up. When you feel able, try to pick up your pace until you are back to your usual self. Who knows what interesting things lie ahead that we’ll want to explore?

The Rewards

After all that analysis and exercise and speedy walking, a reward is surely well earned. Here’s what you get:

• More friendly connections everywhere you go
• Better breathing, so more oxygen to your body parts
• Better blood flow, so more energy
• More comfortable joints and muscles
• Stronger bones
• More youthful appearance

So stand up tall and walk quickly – Watch the world greet you with a smile!

Check out our video on how to maintain good posture at pathfindermag.com/index.php/pathfinder-news/videos.

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