Thursday, April 23, 2009


I have always had the physique and posture of Shaggy on Scooby Doo. I grew up being one of the tallest in my class and had the nickname "long arms" . When I got certified with NASM I learned that the correct phrase to describe my bent over posture was not lurpy but rather pronation distortion syndrome.

Posture effects more than one's appearance. Poor posture can interfere with muscle balance, cause strained muscles, neck and back pain, and impair proper breathing. Your posture is affected not only by how you stand, but how you sit, exercise, work, and sleep. Other culprits are large wallets in back pockets, wearing high heels, regularly carrying a heavy shoulder bag on one side of your body. Other little things include holding a phone between your ear and shoulder. Due to technology more people have sedentary work and spend a great deal of time sitting. Slouching over a computer for an extended amount of time is not uncommon for many people.

Good posture allows your body to be in alignment and balanced. If you were to draw a straight line down the side of your body, then your ear, shoulder, hip, and knee should all be in alignment if your posture is good. Having good posture has many benefits. It can help you breathe deeper and easier, it can improve back health and reduce back pain. It gives you a more confident appearance and causes you to look taller and thinner.

Here are some ideas to help you improve your posture:
*Use a swiss ball to sit on to strengthen core muscles.
*Use an ergonomic keyboard and other equipment.
*Stretch periodically if you find yourself sitting for extended periods of time.
*Invest is a good mattress and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
*Use a backpack instead of a shoulder bag since it will disperse weight evenly.
*Keep your muscles toned and strengthened with regular exercise.
*When you work out use proper form and don't neglect certain muscle groups.
*Monitor your stress levels and be aware of building shoulder tension.
*Pay more attention to and take more frequent notice of your posture.

I'm adding improving my posture to my list of habits to work on.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Before Setting Your Goals...

It's easy for a person to want to change poor habits, lose weight, or get in better shape, but the difficult part is actually carrying out your plans. Before you decide to do any of these things you should determine what your motivation level is and how committed you really are. Here are some questions you might ask yourself prior to making any major lifestyle change.

Is your spouse/family supportive of your goals?
Does your schedule allow you to exercise or eat as you are planning?
Are the goals you set in harmony with your budget?
In the past, have you ever weighed as much as your goal weight?
Are you motivated for health or cosmetic reasons?
Do you have someone to be accountable to for your results?
Do you have any medical conditions that may interfere with your goal?
How long did it take you to gain the weight you want to lose?
Is anyone close to you trying to sabotage your efforts?
Is your planned lifestyle change drastically different from your current habits?

I'm not trying to talk anyone out of achieving better health, I just think it is helpful to identify potential challenges before you hit them. It's not fun to fail over and over again. People need to be realistic and take an honest assessment of where they are before they can move to where they want to be. In order to have success in reaching your goals, you need to specifically define what you want and then determine what it will take to achieve your goals.