How are you using (or abusing) your body the majority of your day? The way you move and hold your body during your daily acitivites is the most important factor in your musculoskeletal health, and greatly impacts not only pain, but strength and muscle tone as well!
Modern conveniences and lifestyles greatly impact the way we use our bodies on a daily basis. We no longer spend our days walking, squatting, and lifting for varied tasks from dawn until dusk. We don’t make our own clothes, churn our own butter, plant and harvest our own vegetables, or wash and dry our laundry by hand. Rather we sit at desks, in cars, and on couches. Most western women stay relatively stationary all day long, and then spend 45-60 minutes a day (if we’re lucky) attempting to force our bodies to fitness. We create bodies that are often in compensatory, weakened, and imbalanced states even prior to pregnancy.
So there are habits you may have had for years – even decades – that will need to be assessed and addressed to truly restore your body – especially when it comes to your abdominal wall and pelvic floor (read here “diastasis recti, prolapse, incontinence, mummy tummy, back pain,” etc.).
Let’s talk about posture.
Ideal posture for a standing human dictates that the major units of the skeleton be stacked over one another, with weight evenly distributed. Your head should be stacked over your ribcage, over your pelvis, over your feet. When stacked this way, your ears should align roughly with your shoulder joint, hip joint, and ankle in a vertical line. Your head, ribcage, and pelvis should sit centrally balanced over both feet, with your feet set underneath your knees and hips.
When your body is well-balanced in this way, it places your core muscles (abdominals, diaphragm, pelvic floor, spinal muscles and hip muscles) in optimal alignment, which means they can function better and maintain both length AND strength the way they were designed to do with daily tasks.
So while asking “which exercises can I do that will fix my ______?” be sure you are ALSO asking, “what do I need to change in my daily posture amd movement habits that will help restore my body to its optimal state?” You must remove the insults if you desire full recovery. So start small – draw yourself up tall, open your collar bones, untuck your bum, soften your knees, take a deep breath, and move forward.
Here’s to your good health and posture!
Dr. Sheri DeSchaaf, DPT
For more information and and to find out where YOUR postural imbalances and weakness lie and correct them, see a womens health physio.