Laughter is good for our health. Since today is April Fools Day, I thought an April Fools Day Newsletter would get a good laugh or at least an interesting reaction from all my wonderful clients. I hope everyone figured out the newsletter was a joke and didn't think I had lost my mind! If you didn't receive the newsletter, here are some highlights with commentary below each article:
READ: April Fools Day Newsletter of all fake and false information! Read for enjoyment, don't follow advise, keep doing what you're doing. :)
Nothing could be further from the truth, as real research shows us that good posture has many benefits and slouching has none.
Yes, muscles still do move bones, just as they always have. And no, there is no "red fat" and I would recommend keeping your muscles, they are good for you!
If only it was that easy: sit back on the couch and slouch through several movies a day or a whole season of Breaking Bad and watch your health improve. No TV is bad, exercise is good. Keep moving!
I hope this isn't true! I think we all would move to California or Arizona if it rained all summer. I am hoping for a long, warm, sunny summer this year in Portland!
This has some truth to it: the Tower does cause drastic improvements in posture. Please keep your Towers and continue to use them as your posture and body will thank you. The Tower is a key ingredient in the recipe for a pain free and active life.
I hope you got a laugh out of this, as I sure had fun making it all up!
Most people believe that good posture means having a flat stomach. Good posture is anything but that! Your Pilates or yoga instructor are usually not good examples of proper posture, often because of their excessively flat stomachs. Why is a flat stomach bad?
One reason is what a flat stomach does to the lumbar spine. Your lumbar spine (lower back) should have a nice smooth curve to it. The abdominal muscle tension necessary to create a flat stomach takes the natural curve out of your lower back and create more lumbar flexion than you functionally want. Losing your natural lumbar curve creates a situation where your intervertebral discs are "loose packed" which puts you at an increased risk of herniating a disc. The excessive abdominal tension means you no longer have proper "dynamic tension" or the balanced coordination between the muscles in the front and back of your body. This can lead to muscle, ligament, or tendon injury and pain.
The second reason why a flat stomach is a bad thing is it interferes with normal diaphragmatic breathing. When you breathe your stomach, lower ribs, and lower back should all expand outward. We call this East-West Breathing. The tight abdominal muscles do not allow normal unrestricted expansion of the abdominal wall and usually leads to abnormal and faulty North-South Breathing. This means your ribs, chest and shoulder will rise and fall when you breathe. This takes increased energy and decreases your functional lung volume (overuse of upper lobes of lungs and underuse of lower lobes of lungs). This leads to decreased performance and increased upper back tension often resulting in sore shoulders and tension headaches.
The third major problem with a flat stomach is that the excessive abdominal tension we have been talking about also restricts movement throughout the torso and hips. When playing sports like golf, tennis, basketball, soccer, or doing things like gardening, raking leaves, sweeping, or making your bed, we need to have smooth coordinated movement of all our joints. Tight abdominal muscles disrupt the connection between the upper and lower body and can result in injury and decreased performance.
Good posture allows for normal abdominal expansion during breathing and movement. Small children are great examples of good posture and normal functional abdominal muscles and tone. When viewed from the side children will have a slightly convex abdominal wall which is normal and good posturally.
Many people believe that it is because of genetics that their feet point out to the sides instead of straight ahead. "My whole family stands and walks this way. My dad, brother, sister - it runs in the family."
Some people believe their body is just put together differently than other people. "My right leg is shorter than my left" or "My left arm is shorter than my right. It has always been that way, it's just how I'm built."
"I've always had bowed legs."
"I was born with pronated feet."
"My kyphosis is genetic."
I believe this is one of the most engrained and dangerous posture myths. When people believe this, they think there is nothing they can do to change their situation. They are not open to other ideas and opinions that could drastically change and improve their lives. They don't even try.
But if these people can entertain the idea that maybe, just maybe, it is not genetic and maybe their body is not put together differently than everyone else, then maybe they will try to change it.
I believe your body has developed muscular imbalances throughout your life and those muscular imbalances can be balanced with specific corrective exercises. Doing Postural Alignment Therapy will correct muscle imbalances, restore function, and balance your body allowing you to return to a pain free and active life.
Posture Myth #1: Thinking about your posture is enough.
Being aware of your posture during your day is a great thing, but consciously correcting your posture is not enough to fix it. First of all, most postural imbalances are things that we are not even aware of, and even if we are, they are not easily corrected by thinking about them. Examples are hip elevation, anterior-posterior hip disparity, femoral disparity, or valgus/varus knee alignment. Additionally, if we are consciously trying to correct our posture, what happens when we get busy and forget about our posture? It will go back to its old patterns. It is very hard to stay aware of your posture 24/7!
It is important to remember that our posture has developed over years and your body has layers of compensation that you can not correct by thinking about it. These imbalances most be corrected over time with very specific corrective exercises that are specific to you and your unique imbalances and performed in a particular order based on your disfunction and compensation patterns. As your exercise routine causes postural changes in your body, the exercises must be adjusted and changed to keep you progressing. When this approach is taken, posture improvement is certain, and your mind is left free to focus on other things.
The more laws we violate, the faster we age and die.
These Eight Laws of Physical Health are from Pete Egoscue's book Pain Free. They are a way to take the seemingly complex human body and confusing healthcare industry with millions of options and differing opinions, and break it down to what matters. If a product or treatment violates any of these eight laws, as Pete says, "Something is wrong." Look for healthcare providers, procedures, treatments, and products that believe in and support these 8 laws and avoid those that do not. This will ensure you are treating and using your body as it was intended and lead to a long and healthy life.
Building bone density during adolescence is very important for a lifetime of strong bones and maintaining bone density as we get older is the key to preventing fractures in later life. Researchers are now learning what type of exercise is the best for increasing bone density and maintaining bone density and it is not weight lifting as many of us had been told for years. Researchers at the University of Bristol discovered that performing exercise that created 4G's or greater of impact showed the greatest bone density. Neither walking, weight lifting, swimming, aerobics, cycling or using an elliptical trainer produce anywhere close to 4G's.
The exercises found to produce 4G's were running faster than a 10-minute mile and jumping up and down off a 15-inch high box. These 4G impacts were important even though they were rare occurrences in the study. The study also looked at older adults and found 4G forces were nonexistent in the subjects studied.
Brisk walking, running slower than a 10-minute mile, or smaller jumps that can produce smaller G's can be very helpful to bone density in those individuals unable to perform higher impact activities required for 4G forces. Another study from the American Journal of Health Promotion showed that women who hopped at least 10x twice a day with 30 seconds between each hop significantly increased their hipbone density after four months. Women who jumped 20x showed even greater gains in bone density.
These studies confirm that high impact exercises are essential to building and maintaining bone density throughout life. The trend of "low impact" activities could be having a negative impact on our societies bone health and the inactivity of adolescents today could mean increased numbers of them will suffer osteoporosis and bone fractures in older age.
If you are unable to run or jump because of injury or pain don't give up hope. Most injuries and pain are caused by postural imbalances that cause faulty joint position and movement patterns and can be corrected. Seeing an Advanced Exercise Therapist and Postural Alignment Specialist will be able to help significantly. The AET or PAS will be able to identify your postural imbalances and inefficient movement patterns and lead your through a program of specific corrective exercises to restore proper muscle engagement and joint position. These postural improvements will allow your injuries to heal, pain to decrease, and allow you to start introducing bone building exercises into your routine.
If you are interested in learning more about bone building exercise, how to recover from injury, or how to eliminate pain contact me today for a free consultation.
About Matt Whitehead
I'm an Egoscue University certified Postural Alignment Specialist (PAS) and Advanced Exercise Therapist (AET), certified personal trainer, PatchFitness performer, FiveFingers wearer, trail runner, cyclist, dad, music lover, environmentalist, hiker, and wanna-be slam dunk champion. I will be providing you with the latest posture exercises to help you live, play, and be pain free.