Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.

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Can you do this?

But can she walk like that?

Apparently, good posture makes you act more confident. And, as I’ve said before, it makes you look slimmer as well as being critical to maintaining a healthy back.

It’s pretty simple. Stand up straight, sit up tall. Do a self-check every so often; imagine you have a book on your head (surly you’ve heard that before). As you imagine the book on your head, pull your belly button in toward your spine, open your chest and think like you’re squeezing something between your shoulder blades. Voila! Posture perfect. Now hold that, and check yourself every hour.

Okay, so maybe it’s easier said than done. Obviously exercise and flexibility help. Start by making sure you don’t neglect your back muscles when working out. Especially the rhomboids. They keep the shoulder blades in place, weak or tense rhomboids are the main cause of hunching. Try this super easy move to strengthen your back:

Lie facedown on a mat with your arms by your sides, palms down. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, lift your chest and arms off the floor, hold for two seconds. Do this 30 times. When you’re done with those, give your back a little stretch by spending a minute or two in Childs Pose.

If you need more, there are special chairs you can buy, you can sit on a stability ball, or the latest trend is something called a Posture Shirt. Read up on them if you want but basically it’s a girdle for your upper body. They’re super tight so you have no choice but to stand up straight. Frankly, I think you should just pay attention to your posture and practice the moves I suggested above.

Off you go…

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Are your running shoes your friend?



The Guinea Pig 2011 Report – In case you forgot we’re following GP through the suggestions I make here on this blog. Last week I reported that GP was working on Post Holiday Detox. She’s drinking more water and eating much more fiber. GP is now feeling lighter and far less toxic.

Once GP began feeling lighter on her feet she plugged in her iPod and took things up a notch.  Rather than her usual 20-minute moderately paced trot on the treadmill, GP hit the incline button. In her own words here’s GP’s report…

Felt good Saturday after our adventure (Kelley took me into the woods for some circuit style activities using tree trunks and sticks) but did nothing yesterday, so I went to the gym today to do some intervals on the treadmill. I was looking forward to it since my ass was dragging and I had some work to do and my brain wasn’t working.

Warmed up for a bit then turned it on nice and easy–did some of your Trundling* work on an easy incline of about 1.5. I was feeling pretty good, so I did a short higher speed trundle (like 5.3mph). When I got tuckered out, I slowed it down, and cranked up the incline and did some fast walking until I was ready to trundle some more. I repeated this process for about 40 minutes (give or take my spazz outs when I dropped my ear buds or accidentally hit the stop button.)

To my great dismay, during the last 10 mins or so, my left hip started bugging me again. I go back and forth on whether it’s muscular or joint-related. I went and stretched for a while, did some balance work and core exercises, it was ok for a bit, but had some discomfort/pain by the time I got home. Just when I was starting to not totally HATE running. GP is not discouraged though. I will carry on!

Since GP is having some discomfort I have suggested that she revisit her posture as noted in my The anklebone is connected to the knee bone post. I am confident that some adjustments in her posture will make a difference and at the very least are a good place to start. The issue that GP did not mention, is that prior this workout she suffered a bad blister on her left foot which would affect how she runs. My suggestion was to discard her old running shoes and invest in some fresh footwear.

Here are the things GP was armed with before she went shoe shopping.

  • First – you need new shoes if you can see compression wrinkles in your midsole, a good rule of thumb is that your running shoes are good for 350 – 500 miles. Obviously this depends on how you run and how heavy you are. If your shoes give you blisters than they don’t fit properly.
  • Think about – where you want to run in your shoes. On the trail or on the road.
  • Go to a running shoe store where the staff knows about running. You need to deal with someone who knows about running shoes specifically and be ready to try on a few pairs of shoes.
  • Here’s how your running shoes should fit – Wiggle Room = You should have about a thumb’s width of room between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. Hold It = Look for a secure, comfortable fit through the midfoot. Imagine a hand gently holding your foot in place. The Heel Deal = There should be little or no slipping at the heel.

GP now has new running shoes and is feeling better about her running. We’ll check in with her next week to see how her hip feels and if she’s taken on Kelley’s ab challenge, in Holding Kelley accountable.

Stay tuned…

* “Trundle” is a Kelleyism referring to a moderately paced jog.

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The anklebone is connected to the knee bone

They say that if you stand up straight you’ll look 10 lbs thinner. I’d have to agree. While you’re working on your New Years diet and exercise regiment take an easy 10 lbs off with these common sense tips to adjust your posture.

  • Your feet are designed to point straightforward, directly beneath your knees. Feet and kneecaps should be pointed forward, not splayed out to the side. The body was designed to move at right angles. Remember that.
  • Hips should be level. One side should not be higher than the other or jutted forward. Hips should sit directly under the shoulders and over the knees when standing. Put your hands on your hips and look in the mirror. Think about those right angles and make adjustments as needed.
  • While you’re looking in the mirror look at your shoulders. They should be level and parallel to your hips, not hunched forward over your knees. If one hip rides up than that shoulder may ride up as well. Not good.
  • Your head should be erect and chin level. Nose should not be pointed up or down.
  • Same thing when you’re sitting. Feet straightforward, under knees. Hips square, shoulders over hips, head erect…

Remember, your body is one unit designed to move at right angles. If one part is out of balance it affects the whole party.

For fun, do a little self check based on the above tips and see what you think. If you choose to make an effort to revise your posture, know that initially it’ll be hard to get your body to remember the right angle rule automatically. It’ll take some thought and attention on your part but with practice eventually your new and better posture will become the norm. Give it a try. You’ll look and feel better for it.

By the way, most of what I’ve shared here was taken from The Egoscue Method. It’s a very common sense approach to movement and physical health. Check it out! (Thanks Coach B for turning me onto it.)