I’ve been told by pretty much every chiropractor and physical therapist I’ve ever been to that my posture is not so hot. My shoulders have a tendency to fall forward and my neck likes to do what I call “the turtle”—after years of landing on my head in gymnastics and other mishaps (bike accidents, trail running spills, trampoline craziness…) I’ve lost the beautiful curve of my neck. This in turn, puts strain on my neck and upper back (my head is heavy).
A combination of yoga and awareness is slowly helping me to adjust my posture. The Chi Running method gives some simple tips for maintaining proper posture while you are running. Posture is important because it will protect your spine and joints while at the same time giving your lungs more space—I LOVE oxygen.
Many of us stand with our hips too far forward, creating a “c” shape with the back of our bodies. Over time, this leads to lower back pain—I’m no fan of back pain. To correct this, we want to reverse the “C”—think of your chin as the top of the C and then it curves over your head through your center and up around your pelvic floor.
Here’s how I go about finding this “C” shape:
- Stand side ways in front of a mirror
- Level your hips—make sure your chi isn’t spilling
- Imagine that there is a rod going through you from the tip of your head, through your core to your pelvic floor. The rod then continues straight down to the floor.
- Check your feet, are they pointing forward?
- Place one hand on your lower abs and ensure they are engaged.
- Make a “L” shape with the other hand and use it use it as a lever to gently press up on your collar bone. This should lift your chest.
- Maintaining this, take one hand to the back of your head, extend your neck, and tilt your chin slightly forward.
Often times, when we start to get tired during our day or out on the run, our posture begins to deteriorate. When you notice this happening, stop. Find that “C” shape and remember what it feels like. I have my watch set to beep every hour throughout the day. This is a good reminder for me to check in with my body—I like to do a quick once over:
-How’s my breathing?
-How’s my posture?
-How’s my attitude?
I don’t do it every hour, but I try to keep it in mind throughout the day. It’s a great way to re-center yourself when you’re working on a project or you’ve been stressed out at your computer all day.
Now get out there and RUN!