Feel Better... Live Better
Sit-up Straight or Else
By Woody McMahon
Even today, just the thought of hearing those words strikes terror in the
hearts and minds of most adults. Growing up, your mother or father would
say over and over again "Can't you sit or stand up straight?" You probably
tried to heed your parents requests but after a few minutes, go right back
to our old, slumpy self. Do you know why it was so hard to keep that
upright posture? Beyond the obvious cosmetic reasons, why is good posture
so valuable for your health?
Good posture can be defined in many ways. Physical therapists say good
posture is "the state of muscular and skeletal balance which protects the
supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity."
Well, that is quiet a mouthful. More simply, when viewed from the side,
good standing posture allows a vertical line to be drawn through your ear,
shoulder, hip, back of the knee and ankle to the floor. Good posture
sitting would allow a partial vertical line through your ear, shoulder and
hip with the knees bent and the feet flat on the floor.
Why Good Posture is So Important
There is an old saying "form follows function." The architecture of the
body has bones connected to each other through joints with muscles and
other tissues acting as movers and supporters. If the muscles that support
the bones are kept strong and flexible, your body works the way it was
designed. If not then the first physical sign that your critical body
alignments have started to change is poor posture. The first physical
symptom is pain. So the body gives you two warning signals that your
building is beginning to crumble. Posture you see and pain you can feel.
The Health Benefits of Better Posture
Good posture provides improvements in three health areas: circulation,
breathing and digestion. The greatest single benefit of good posture is
more oxygen to the body with less effort by your lungs and ribs. Some
studies say as much as 20% more oxygen is taken in with every breath
when you are sitting or standing erect. Your brain is the single biggest user
of oxygen so increasing those levels improves concentration and memory
abilities. Good posture makes it easier to breathe benefiting health
problems like asthma, COPD and allergies. Your heart can beat slower and
not work as hard when more oxygen is available in the blood. This is
helpful in cases of heart disease, arteriosclerosis, and high blood
A Posture Test
The easiest example of how poor posture negatively affects your health is
through the simple act of breathing. As you read this article, take a
moment and try this experiment on yourself. Sit in a chair and slump down
like you might at the office or in front of the television. Now try and
take a really deep breath and notice how much effort it takes to move your
ribs. It requires more energy to inflate your lungs with poor posture.
This time, sit on the edge of the same chair with your knees bent, feet
flat on the floor and your back straight and head up. Now take the same
deep breath and see how much easier it feels.
Evaluating Your Own Posture
There are several ways to evaluate your own posture. Take a moment and
stand in the mirror observing your body from the front and side. See if you
can draw the vertical line that was mentioned earlier on your own body.
Better yet, ask a family member or friend to take three pictures of you;
one from the front, side and back. Now you can easily see if a vertical
line will hit all the right spots.
Correcting Poor Posture
Going from poor to good posture is easier than you might imagine. The
typical exercise program at the gym will not do much for improving your
posture. Special exercises that work the back extensors and middle and
lower trapezius muscles are the best for postural correction. Feel free to
email me for more information on postural exercises and developing a
balanced postural program.
Would you like to improve your health but don't know where to start?
How about an exercise program that alleviates pain and strengthens your bones?
Do you have weight problems but are tired of dieting? I provide an easy to
follow program without the gimmicks or fads. You'll also get the education,
motivation and accountability necessary to improve your health while
helping you feel and look your best. Please call Woody McMahon for a no
cost consultation, at 703-628-2880 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Woody McMahon
It is That Time Again
January is the time to make your New Year's resolutions for the coming
year. Most of these resolutions never make it off the launching pad because
of a few basic design flaws. You, like many others, may have just given up
making resolutions all together because your best laid plans always seem to
fail. Don't get me wrong; resolutions are a good thing. This is not
supposed to be a stressful process. Just like anything else, there is an
easy way and a hard way to get the job done. Here are three helpful
suggestions that can literally "revolutionize" your resolution making
process and have your friends thinking "how did you do that" next January.
Start With Three: Pick One
In the past, with all good intentions, you tried to make too many
resolutions which can place you in a no-win situation. Too many resolutions
dilute your energies and add confusion and stress to the whole process.
Adding stress to resolution making is counterproductive to the whole
"improve your health" intent in the first place. Start with three
resolutions (less than three is OK too) and then pick just one to get
Write Them Down
"The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step," says Lau
Tzu, Chinese philosopher. So for your first step write down the three
resolutions you would like to accomplish for 2011. Then write each one
down on a large piece of paper. Don't just think about them like you did in
the past. Actually take the time to write them down this time. Make sure
to write each resolution large enough so you can easily see it from across
the room. When you are finished, take the papers and hang them somewhere
they can be viewed conveniently every day. The act of writing them down
tells your subconscious that you are really serious about working on these
resolutions. The ability to see and review them regularly reinforces your
intent to succeed.
Bringing Out the Big Guns
Properly directed, the subconscious is a powerful ally and can make your
resolution process much easier. To get it revved-up, take a few minutes
every day to review your resolutions. This is best accomplished by sitting
for several minutes and reviewing your list. Once you can repeat each
resolution by heart, close your eyes and use your imagination to accomplish
your first resolution. Forget about the other two, just focus on the first
one at this time.
A Simple Example
So let's say the first resolution was to increase your activity level by
exercising more regularly. Close your eyes and image yourself getting
dressed and going for a walk, lifting some weights or doing some
stretching. Take another moment and see yourself going through your
workout. The clearer your visualization, the stronger the effect is on your
subconscious. It takes just a couple of minutes a day and you are finished.
Acting on Your Impulses
The subconscious works in strange and mysterious ways. Well, not really.
People just like to think it does and make more of it than necessary. Your
subconscious is actually very predictable. Each time you sit and imagine
accomplishing your first resolution, you are refreshing your intent with
the subconscious. This focused concentration actively stimulates the
subconscious in helping you accomplish your first resolution. The
subconscious in turn will send you subtle signals, nudges if you will, in
the right direction. You will find yourself thinking, "I would like to take
a walk" or "I will be right by the club tomorrow; it is not my scheduled
workout day but I can stop in anyway."
Do not ignore these messages. Act on them immediately because your
subconscious is subtly helping you to succeed. Pay attention and follow
through on these little motivations because they are designed to help make
it easier to accomplish the first resolution.
The Second Will Follow
Once you feel like your first resolution is heading in the right direction
or completed, use the same techniques for the second and third. Putting the
subconscious to work can help you successfully accomplish your resolutions
just that much faster.
Try these healthy lifestyle changes for 30 days. Feel what it is like to be
a part of the health care solution rather than a health burden. If you need
additional suggestions and advice on living a healthier lifestyle, email or
call me for a no cost consultation, at 703-628-2880 or email to