Posturing

Bad posture

I kind of love cheesy stock photos. Image via Wikipedia

Slouching and posture have been a big theme in my day today.  I might even go so far as to say they’ve been a theme this week.  I read a short story about the former, and a friend and I talked about the latter over lunch.  Earlier this week while I was busy trying not to get struck by lightning, I was thinking about how important it is to maintain good posture while running–this while I was hoofing it uphill in a rather slouchy position.  The truth of the matter is, it’s pretty rare that I slouch when I’m running, no matter how tired I get.  This is how my family once decided they’d identify me while they were spectating at my first marathon.  “How will we find Emilie?”  “Just look for someone with really good posture!”  It’s actually pretty rare that I slouch at all.  I’m not sure where this comes from (my parents were never posture sticklers when I was growing up), but my guess is that it may have something to do with how weird I can get about how my body feels and looks; I’ve always been so self-conscious about my appearance and weight that I’ve a) hated feeling like my stomach is large and abundantly roly-poly and b) hoped that if I sat up straighter that people might be less inclined to think I was fat.  And so: good posture.  From a negative comes a positive, right?

In spite of my skewed feelings about my body, though, good posture is not strictly cosmetically important; indeed, sitting up straight is really important for a strong, healthy core.  It’s sort of funny, too, how cyclically posture works: better posture equals a stronger core, and a stronger core (have you already guessed, you sly thing?) equals better posture.  Similarly, in running, as good as it might feel to let your posture go when you get tired, you will ultimately be less fatigued if you maintain good posture, just as maintaining good posture throughout your run will lead you to be less fatigued.  So, see?  All those years of your mother, or grandmother, or whomever telling you to sit up straight were actually for your own good.

But what are you to do if you, unlike me, aren’t such an upright citizen?  Is all hope lost?  Are you committed to a life of rounded shoulders and an overall appearance that suggests you feel tired and defeated?  No way!  There are exercises you can do, for one thing, and apparently you can also get a device that looks vaguely like some sort of torture device!

In all seriousness, though, paying attention to your posture really is worthwhile.  Good posture carries all sorts of benefits, and good posture while running (and exercising in general) can improve your overall form so that you suffer fewer injuries, breathe more easily, and get faster quicker.

So…sit up straight!  Stand up tall!  It’s good for you!

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4 comments

  1. I’ve also found that good posture at work keeps me alert and more awake feeling. I grew up dancing, so I don’t have to try too hard to remember posture, but I always feel bad when I catch myself slouching.
    Other times though, it feels like a nice reward after a hard day to just slouch on my comfortable couch for a little while 🙂

    1. Oooh, dancer’s posture! That’s the best kind 🙂 And it’s true, there is nothing like a good slouch every now and then!

  2. Thank you!

    I’ve noticed my posture is so poor lately if I’m not careful I’ll slump to the floor. The chin glide is one of my favorites when I’ve been working at the computer all day.

  3. I’ve been thinking about posture lately! I need to work on expanding & lifting my chest because my shoulders are rounded slightly forward. That’s causing me to have back pain regularly. I have a book on hold at the library about posture that I need to go pick up! Thanks for the links you provided here!

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