Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Straight Talk

Dress by Enzoani / Image via WeddingNet

I'm a chronic sloucher.  Insecurity caused me to hunch my shoulders since middle school.  And since then, it's just been something I do because it's comfortable.  But something tells me that on my wedding day, I won't look as chic as the slouching bride above.  So I'm taking matters into my own hands.  

After some digging around on the internet, I found a couple tips that were a good fit for me.  

At work:

  • Sit with my back against the back of the chair, feet flat on the ground.  
  • Arms should be extended at at 75 to 90 degree angle and I should avoid leaning forward.  Doing this right now as I type (not at work, I should mention), and to be honest, it feels weird, but keeping my arms flexed at around 90 degrees is helping to keep me from leaning forward. 
  • Take a walk!  Sitting in a chair for too long is bad news for your back.  So I'm making a point to go for a walk around the building a couple times a day.
  • After my walk, I take another moment to relieve the tension in my neck by simply dropping my chin down to my chest and holding it there for a few seconds.  

Walking, Driving (or, Life away from the Desk):
  • Keep weight at the balls of the feet when walking, not the toes.
  • Shoulders should stay back, and chin should be slightly tucked when walking.  I thought tucking the chin would be weird, but it's more along the lines of imagining that you're walking around with a book on your head.  Ever try that?  My mom used to make me do it at home when I was younger, in a desperate attempt to improve my posture, but clearly it didn't stick.
  • When driving, keep your back against the seat.  This sounds like really common sense advice, but I used to keep the seat farther back than necessary, which would cause me to lean forward--whoops! 

At the Gym:  

I'm incorporating one new move into my routine 

Image via WholeLiving

it's called the "Back Strengthener." Any guesses as to what it does?  By the way, I should mention that I'm only adding one move to my fitness routine because I want to make this change for good.  I feel like if I throw a bunch of new moves into my workout, I'm just going to feel overwhelmed and the changes won't last beyond the wedding.  Since I'm absolutely not an expert on fitness, I'll let the good people at Whole Living describe this move for you:

Lie facedown on the floor with your arms out in front of you. Take a breath, then exhale while you simultaneously lift your right arm and left leg off the floor. Keep your head lifted and your gaze forward. Come back to resting position. Inhale, then exhale, and repeat on the other side. Then take another breath, and on the exhale, lift both arms and legs simultaneously off the ground. Inhale, then exhale, and come back to rest. Do this move again. Repeat the entire sequence 2 to 3 times.

Easy peasy, right?  The hard part is breaking the habit, because slouching is so comfortable for me!  But when I look back at pictures of our wedding day, the last thing I want think is "I wish I just stood up straight..."  And after the that, the last thing I want to actually hear is the voice of my mom saying "why didn't you stand up straight?!" I kid, I kid (a little)!

If you're looking for more, I found these and many other tips here, here, and here.  Since it nearly goes without saying: I am not an expert, so I suggest you check with a professional before starting any exercise.     

Are there any habits you're trying to break before your wedding?  Any former-slouchers out there with tips for me?


  1. Thanks for the tips! I, too, am trying to improve my posture. I've recently acquired some not so fun back problems from the way my desk is set up at work (I think). I've been seeing a chiropractor and massage therapist for a few months with not much relief. I'm thinking of taking up pilates since I've heard that it's really good at strengthening the core and improving posture. We'll see how it goes...

  2. Good luck! Work is probably the main reason why it's so tough. Fingers crossed that we get this figured out!