Friday, February 6, 2009

Fit Mommy Friday: Posture Check

You cradle your newborn baby.

You haul groceries and a loaded diaper bag to the car.

You pick up your four-year-old when she falls down, kissing her boo-boo as you carry her into the house.

You bend forward to load the dryer or to wash dishes.

You spend time every day typing at your computer (okay, maybe that's just me.)

Now that you're a Mommy, have you noticed that your posture has changed?

Because so many of our Mommy-jobs involve stooping, reaching forward, and holding children and things in front of us, stooped shoulders are a hallmark of motherhood.

Don't believe me? Look at the Moms in front of you next time you are in line somewhere, next time you're in church or at a movie or a sporting event. You'll see what I mean.

Poor posture can lead to achiness and injury, but it is relatively easy to correct. Here's how to begin.

First, Check your posture:

Stand with your back and the back of your head against a wall. Does it take effort to press your shoulders to the wall? Or are they naturally touching the wall, too?

Now, lift your arms beside you, even with your shoulders, palms facing outward. Does that make a difference in the way your back feels?

Next, Straighten up:

Next time you're in line waiting for something, pay attention to your posture. Stand straight, as though there were an imaginary string at the top of your head pulling upward. Or, imagine that there is a book balancing on your head.

Roll your shoulders forward, upward, and then back. Let them rest in the "back" position and let your arms rest comfortably down. You should feel like a coat on a coat-hanger.

When sitting, try to sit toward the front of your chair with your back straight. It will help you to engage the muscles in your abdomen and upper back. If you cross your legs, cross them at the ankles instead of the knees.

Now, Lengthen and Strengthen:

Stretch your back daily by reaching upward and stretching all the way forward. Return to the top stretch and reach one hand up and over your head. Repeat on the other side.

Focus on the muscles around your upper back and shoulders. Shoulder Presses, Rows and Upright Rows will all help you hold your shoulders back instead of slumped forward.

Finally, exercise your core (abdominals and lower back) with simple daily exercises like push-ups and planks. Keeping your core muscles engaged as you go about your daily life will make good posture second-nature.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

- Midwest Mom

3 comments:

  1. I enjoyed your post! I am a "done" mom, kids grown now, but I'm still leaning like I have a kid on one hip, and I sway like I'm rocking a baby if I'm standing still too long. Some things you never get over! I'm going to follow your blog as a "grounding exercise" and to let me know that, yeah, I survived!
    suZen (from erasingtheboard.blogspot.com)

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  2. I have horrible posture. Thank you for the reminder to stand up because I was totally hunkering over the computer. I actually improved my posture back when I was using Wii Fit to do yoga. I need to get back to focusing on my posture b/c it makes me feel so much better about myself.

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  3. I raised three children and three grandchildren. Combine that with working ten hours a day for many years...and you really appreciate what you are saying about back problems. After all my years of bending and lifting, I now have spinal stenosis. It comes from wear and tear on the spine...just aging can cause it.

    Anyway, I think this is an excellent post. All the young mothers will appreciate your words of wisdom.(smile) And you're right, posture is very important.

    Have a great week!....Mattie

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