5 ways to fight gravity
Just take a look at the image above of the woman. On the left, she looks frumpy, lazy, and out of shape. On the right, she looks confident, fit, and very much in shape. Posture is about much more than appearance and confidence, although I think it would be silly to say it’s not about those things. Poor posture can results from many things, but typically, it’s just because most people sit on their duffs for far too long, stare at too many screens all day, and aren’t nearly proactive enough with their health to combat the consistent pull of gravity. Here’s 5 ways to fight the good fight.
If you think about where the center of gravity is for a person in a healthy weight range and not pregnant, you can visualize where one’s center of gravity would lie. Now that 70% of Americans are overweight or obese, visualize a waist/belly where the circumference is larger than it is intended to be for the frame of one’s body. Think about the physics that are thrown off when the center of gravity is thrown off. Imagine the fragility of a building that isn’t constructed correctly and having it’s weight bearing structures not only having too much of a weight on them, but also having the weight placed too far away from the structure’s strong points.
Would you be happy with a home builder if they built your house to falter under it’s own weight and gravity? Then it only makes sense that you shouldn’t build your body the same way.
PS: I hear good eating habits work well in getting that center of gravity back where it’s supposed to be.
Rarely do you see someone rocking the “Weekend at Bernie’s” posture where he’s falling backwards constantly. Typically what you see is a slow gradual decline in posture anteriorly, meaning forward. Just like the image above, the head starts to jut forward, the shoulders round forward, the belly does as well, and then the hips compensate to maintain balance. This happens not only because of poor gravity and sitting too long, but it also happens because people do not exercise enough, or properly. The glutes and hamstrings become weak, as well as the rhomboids, mid/low traps. In other words, the entire backside needs a lot of work to balance out the short, tight, and overactive musculature of the front side of the body.
If you think of your body as a system of rubber bands, you can see how the tight, shorter ones can cause the opposing rubber bands to be longer and weaker. But if you could stretch out the short, tight bands in order to get a proper tension balance between the bands, you’d see a better posture relationship in the body. Once again, using the image above, this woman would need to stretch her short, tight hip flexors, quads, and pecs to loosen up those tight rubber bands on the front side. It should be noted that some SMR (self-myofascial release), or commonly referred to as foam rolling, should precede the stretching. After stretching, doing some mobility work to integrate the flexibility into proper movement would be a good idea. In fact, this makes for a great warm-up routine before exercise as well.
Sometimes this isn’t avoidable, but many times it is. Most work environments are becoming more flexible with how you work on your computer, but even if you must sit for a long time (long haul truck drivers, computer programmers, etc) you must become more proactive by combatting the long periods with steps 1, 2, 3, and 5. I know some very fit and healthy “desk jockeys” because they take the time to work on themselves.
I may offend people on this one, but so be it. Think about it, most people are overweight, with poor posture, so they get on a running kick or worse yet, they pay $3,000 for a Peloton only to reinforce really poor postural habits that further entrench their poor postural issues. Additionally, these forms of exercise, while not particularly “unhealthy” by any means, typically do not yield close to the same benefits as resistance training does. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, nothing pays more dividends to your health than strength training, and using that form of exercise to build you backside will also have the greatest impact on you fighting the ever-constant pull of gravity.