The 2017 ACE Your Posture campaign is in full swing. It began May 1 with Posture Awareness (Week 1), and then moved to Control (Week 2), followed by Environment (Week 3). In the final week of Posture Month bring the concepts together for patients and clients by helping to incorporate new habits and posture environment changes.
Posture Awareness is multi-layered, and someone’s initial intellectual awareness of posture’s relevance progresses to their personal awareness (e.g. How’s my posture?). This egocentric awareness can be seen with just a mirror, but for accurate bench-marking to an objective I recommend professionals use a picture (and the PostureZone® app) or even a fitness wearable with posture tracking (e.g. Lumo Lift).
The Posture ACE model is a spiral of interdependent factors, and awareness is the crystal of relevance to choose new actions. Control begins with choice, and choosing to control an action… through motor control exercise and training new habits. Strengthening of posture is ultimately the goal of yoga practitioners, Pilates devotees, CPEP® Certified Posture Specialists, and StrongPosture® exercise fans globally.
Putting awareness into action with control can be as simple as trying to sit and stand straighter, or committing to taking a posture break from the desk, or using walking poles on a daily stroll to train walking strong with symmetry and good form. Taking time to counter all those hours of seated forward-folded posture with a massage or taking a breather to relax and lengthen with a foam roller or neck support.
Posture Control is about choice, and choosing to focus awareness on how you stand and sit, as well as exercise, walk, move and lift.
Belief versus Reality
Integrating simple rehab tools into StrongPosture® protocols or other motor control exercise can be a powerful educator. When someone believes their arms are moving symmetrically, but the Thera-Band they’re holding is not level, it’s gets their attention. When they’re moving on a ball, but the the ball isn’t doing what they think it should, they have to pay attention.
That’s the point of using Must vs. Try cueing to retrain someone’s perception and body control towards more accurate position, motion and velocity.
If you’re a CPEP® or integrate StrongPosture protocols or other motor control exercise, you’ve seen the clinical differences with focused motion exercises to systematically reprogram perception and the reality of how a body is moving. When people become more mindful, moving consciously with control, they’re correcting sensorimotor errors and increasing the benefit of all their activity.
Shifting gait patterns begins with focusing awareness on the symmetry of the entire kinetic chain. Adding walking poles (i.e.Nordic walking) can make someone aware of subtle asymmetries, and radically transform walking by putting the entire body into the chain with every step. Planting a pole closes the kinetic chain from left hand to right foot (and vice versa), causing a startling difference in form when poles are a tad too long (or too short).
Helping patients to modify their posture environment is a crucial step in maintaining the progress they make in strengthening and improving posture.
- Work: Optimizing a workstation can be as easy as really taking the time to raise or lower desk, chair, monitor, etc. or perhaps replacing it with a standing desk that gives them the option to move frequently from sitting to standing throughout the day. Get an adjustable chair (and use the settings!)
- Sleep: Addressing mattress (age, support, foundation), pillows that align the head and spine (there is no one size fits all), knee pillows to better support side sleepers, and tips to get stomach sleepers to get off their belly.
- Travel: Tips to sit strong and move frequently even if it’s only stretching in place. Preparing for long flights or car travel with a travel pillow that is supportive.
- Play: Whether it’s a concert, kids competition or pro sporting event, bleachers are bad news for backs. Get ahead of stiffness and pain by bringing the right support for the job, like a Nada Chair.
- Exercise: Evaluate if foot orthotics would be beneficial, recommend motor control exercise as a part of a regular regimen to support other athletic activities.
Posture Tools and Tech
We featured Posture Month sponsors in the examples above, and of course there are lots of options out there. People are engaged by tools and tech. Adding in a foam roll, ball or band to a progressive posture protocol keeps exercise interesting. Posture reminders and other supports and tech are helpful when teaching people posture concepts and the why and how to make lasting changes.
As health and fitness professionals it’s important to be familiar with new (and old) products that answer a variety of body types, habits and needs. Often a demonstration session is a great teaching opportunity that can lead to referrals and follow up questions – boosting the retail side of your business.
Uprite Ergo – Check out Sit2Stand, the coolest variable height desk we’ve seen. Update your work environment without purchasing a new desk. The solution to the ergonomically unsound, uncomfortable desk. Professional Referral Program>>>
Sleepy Kneez – Unique patented knee pillow for side sleepers. It ensures the spine remains in a neutral position, soothing your back and hips as you sleep, and stays in place while you sleep, even if you don’t. Eliminates pressure on the the lower back and hips, by restoring natural alignment. Professional / bulk pricing available>>>
Cervipedic – The Neck-Relief™ provides support for cervical spine while in supine or reclined resting position. It also provides temporary relief from minor aches and pains. $20 Off with Code “posturemonth”>>> plus there is Pro/Bulk Pricing Available>>>
Travel with more comfort, more support, and more sleep. Bulk pricing available>>>
It’s easy to transport and the reviews are excellent.
CPEP® – The CPEP® posture specialist certification program. The only clinically-based and CEU approved program, the network now spans 25 countries and sets the standard for posture rehab for health, performance and active aging. See CPEP® practitioner reviews and press features >>>
Exerstrider – One reason we like Exerstrider poles are their pole-locks. Also, their boot shaped rubber tips adds a bit more feedback to “tune” gait, along with a touch of compliance on planting your pole. They offer professional and bulk pricing>>>
Lumo can help you see your patients in a whole new way.
Royal Rest Pillows – Royal Rest Pillows have several unique characteristics to ensure excellent comfort, support and air circulation. Double lobe construction means it’s a good fit for people of all sizes. Available in both original and memory foam. Pro and bulk pricing available>>>
PostureZone – Posture picture assessments create awareness by providing visual evidence to engage patients, clients and students in their posture. Posture grids make an eye-catching and effective backdrop. Systematize your process by using the free of pro version of the PostureZone® app or software. Bulk pricing available on grids and more >>>