Most of my day is spent standing or walking around. I should be grateful because most people would prefer to be standing rather than sitting all day at work. And I am glad that I don’t have to sit a lot, but we always want what we don’t have! So sitting for long periods can cause tight hips and a weak butt, among other problems. Standing is better, but it all depends on HOW you are standing. Yes, another posture correction, but please just hear me out.
I realized that my standing posture is terrible (see image below) when I was chatting with K-Starr a few years ago. He started moving his legs and hips in weird ways while we were talking…..all I could think of was ” what is this weirdo doing.” Then he nicely informed me that he was imitating me. Thank you, K-Starr. I basically stand one of two ways: either legs crossed like a child who has to pee or “attitude stance” putting all of my weight on one leg and hip jetting out to the side. Both are pretty unattractive, bad for the body and actually hurt after a while. Once it starts to hurt, I do like any other human would do and switch to the other side! Why is it so hard to just stand normal??
Sometimes it could just be a nervous/fidgety habit. Sometimes people are avoiding putting weight on an injury or a painful area of the body. Most of the time I feel like I just get tired of standing (lazy) and just want to find an easier way to stand. Easy apparently = not using muscles and hanging out on our joints. But I think if we USED our muscles and they became STRONGER it would become EASIER. Just like it’s hard to use our upper back muscles to sit up straight, it’s hard to use our muscles and stand in a relatively normal posture.For example, we’ve all done the attitude stance that I’m talking about. Woman are guilty of this more, but men you are not off the hook…..I’ve seen you stand this way too (Nathan below). That leg that you are leaning on is not using the hip muscles like it should to support your body weight. Instead, you are hanging out on the ligaments that surround your joint and putting your muscles in a less optimal position to work properly (over stretching some and making others tight). No wonder we have weak butt issues! Humans are just way too good at finding ways to make things easier at the moment…..but it never ends up being good in the end.
I’m even guilty of always standing with my arms across my chest. Again, not always attractive because it looks like I’m angry. AND it’s putting my shoulders in a forward position and internally rotated. Which then leads to tight shoulders…..undoing any mobility I may have done. Do you ever feel like you are stretching and mobilizing and never get anywhere??? Maybe you are doing something throughout your day that is undoing your mobility work….
Another standing posture that I’ve noticed is pointed mainly at the guys. Sorry. So I’m not supposed to have favorite patients at work, but I do right now. I have this guy who had shoulder surgery a few months ago. He’s a tough guy, likes to lift heavy weights, has a Harley, etc. Neck pain is common after shoulder surgery, but he continues to have recurring neck problems as we progress his shoulder rehab. And every time I give him the same posture lecture because he stands with his chin pointed up. You know, the cool look that makes you look taller and more tough. Some guys even use it as a gesture to say hello. He wasn’t even aware that he was doing it, and now it’s just a big joke every time he comes in because he still does it. It’s hard to break a habit like this, but he says when he puts his head in a better position it feels better. I like to call it magic!
Challenge for the month of August: be aware of your posture as you are standing. Do you lean to one side? Do you cross your arms? Do you stand with your hips pressing forward so your butt is off? Even just being aware that you are standing weird will help you be more conscious and help you make some changes throughout your day. I try to think about this constantly, mainly because I’m telling people to have good posture so I should practice what I preach. But I will also start to have pain somewhere, realize and I standing weird, fix it and then I feel better. I think everyone will be surprised at the various postures they find themselves in throughout the day. It’s not easy an easy thing to change…..but that’s why it’s called a challenge 🙂