Right now, as I work my way back to fitness from being really quite unwell, I am doing about 6000 steps a day. There is no way that I could go from nap-all-the-time to 18000 steps a day. Or even 10000. So I'm doing what works for me right now...
I tell people often how much I hate exercise, and I’ve said it before on this blog (I’m sure..??).
When I think of exercise, I see it as a chore. I don’t feel particularly co-ordinated, my limbs often don’t feel like they follow the command of my brain.
So how do I trick myself into moving more for someone who hates sports and frankly quite enjoys being in a horizontal position?
When I was young - and I say that from my current 'advanced' age of 40 - I LOVED going to yoga classes where the instructor told us stories from the Bhagavad Gita or other bits of Hindu Mythlology.
I loved the gods and goddesses and their exploits and the morals to the tales.
But as I grew older and did more yoga, I found I didn't want to hear stories in yoga class anymore.
You could say I wasn't so into the spiritual side. Problem? Not really. Here's why.
Folks, I had to share this.
You know how we tend to believe it's inevitable to get more hunched with age?
It's not true.
The only reason we hunch more as we age is that we've had more years to practice bad habits. I was very motivated, back in 2009, to change my habits because I was in a lot of pain. Like, could barely walk pain. In fact, it seems blindingly obvious now, looking at the picture below, that thrusting my ribs forward and not using my posterior muscles at ALL was exacerbating, if not causing, the problem.
Yes, I am not ashamed to admit that the ass in the 2009 picture was a droopy one. No muscle use there, and it jiggled when I walked. It doesn't now. Those muscles are too busy propelling me forward.
Now, in a perfect situation, all my joints would be lined up vertically. I am still not there - my ribs and pelvis are still thrust, among other things , but oh my, the progress.
You can see in the 2009 picture that I had clearly subscribed to the idea that pushing my ribs forward & lifting my chest was good posture. It's a myth.
In fact, there are loads of unuseful myths about posture out there.
I'll be teaching a workshop early next year on how I made (and continue to make) these changes but here are the basics:
- I made time every day to rest. Not in bed, but on the yoga mat. Like this, and this.
- I began to use my posterior muscles in a functional way. Yes, squats, done right.
- I started to relax my psoas muscles. It is, in my opinion, the muscle that needs to be changed first when working on posture.
- I worked on my shoulder and upper back mobility. A locked upper back and tight shoulders make it almost impossible to stand upright & use the muscles in the back of your body properly.
If you have pain, or think your posture could do with some work (hint, everyone's could) I encourage you to try some of these for yourself. Regular practice will create small changes quickly, and over time, big changes like the ones you see above.