Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stand Tall

For as far back as I can remember in my childhood we were told to stand up straight.  Our mother was a stickler for good posture.  At any given moment one of us would feel the pressure of her pointy finger in the middle of our backs instantly causing our shoulders to pull back as if they'd been tethered with a counter weight.  Her reason to me was that it would make me appear confident, thinner AND when I aged and got bigger boobs they'd seem less droopy. 

Mom was right. Naturally.

My own son hasn't been inflicted with my index finger.  As he set off for the bus this morning I called out to him, "Pull your shoulders back!"  Instantly, he did.  But it looked painfully unnatural.  His head was still cocked down like the dopey vulture from the cartoons.  "We'll work on fixing that. Have a great day!"  And he shuffled off surely releasing his posture to the slumpiness that screams Shaggy of Scooby Doo. 

Poor posture isn't limited to my video gaming Mancub.  That's what I call his affliction. Gamers Posture.  It has been written that it is a trend amongst tweens and teens to slouch and skip sucking in the gut. Of course I can't find the blasted article where I read it. Curses! But trust me, I read it.  Even thin girls appear to have a paunch.  S-curve postures.  I see them all over our local mall.  It first came to my attention, this suspected trend, when Miley Cyrus was walking the red carpet for an awards program.  Then, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and a host of others trotted about in designer, one-of-a-kind gowns with posture reminiscent of the early stages in The Evolution of Man posters.  What in the world is happening? My poor mother would have a field day dissecting this tragedy.

From what I've been reading, technology is to blame, mostly.  Lap tops, texting, video games, etc... cause the user to roll the shoulders forward.  Muscle memory takes control.  Without daily corrective exercises to counteract the phenomenon, we're left with a youth parade of what appears to be slackers.  Sorry, the voice of my mother is infiltrating this blog post.  "STAND UP STRAIGHT!! You look LAZY!"

Now, incorrect posture isn't limited to kids.  Adults carry plenty of that burden, too.  It's never too late to fix it, don't ya know? However, like every thing else in life, it will require work but if you make it a family affair, then it is more of a labor of love.  You know what's coming, don't you?

Exercise.

There are specific exercises that target the muscles behind correct posture.  Between consistency of performing them and being conscientious, we can have a population that appears it is strong enough and confident enough to carry the world on its shoulders.

Since I am NOT a fitness expert or physiologist, I will leave you with this fantastic link for more ideas: Exercises to Improve Your Posture; Stand taller, look 10 pounds thinner.

As for my 16 year old son? He and I will be routinely 'pushing play' on Tony Horton's In-Home Boot Camp: Power 90.  Elemental exercises utilizing light to heavy weight (depending on fitness level).  Good old fashioned push-ups! One of the single best exercises to strengthen a person's core.  It'll be an excellent bonding time for the boy and me. 

Trust me, it sure beats the dagger-like point of my mother's index finger.  I am certain there's still a mark left in the middle of my back from her stern intolerance of poor posture.

3 comments:

  1. Video games/computers may be partly to blame for poor posture. However, after the 14-year-old attended school ONE DAY with 40 pounds of books packed on his back, we noticed a different posture - one that took his normally erect, attractive posture to the hip-forward, curved back and shoulder slouch! Egad! So, he also heard of Mom's history with the finger to the spine. He just didn't realize...the rest of the day, he kept asking "Am I standing up straight?" It's always nice when they listen...the 17-year-old, 6 ft 9 son slouches to be more even-keeled with his shorter friends. Sorry, Mom!

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  2. Posture: It's a state of mind.

    My father told me to stand up straight for the simple reason that it gave you confidence in who you were. "Don't slouch. It makes you look sloppy and like you don't care about yourself," he would say.

    And you know what? He was absolutely correct.

    Unless someone has some sort of debilitating problem with their back or neck or side, there isn't much reason you can't steel yourself into correct posture.

    It's like getting in the habit of brushing your teeth three times a day .... chewing with your mouth closed .... keeping your elbows off the table when you eat. It's all learned behavior.

    Technology isn't to blame: Setting kids straight to begin with is where it should start.

    Period.

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  3. Mo, I thought one of the links I provided discussed the bone crushing pressure of backpacks. I must have lost it somewhere in publishing. Argh!

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