One of the biggest things I see bringing people into a less functional life, is not standing straight up. You might think “Shawn, don’t be so dumb we can all stand”. An overwhelming number of people stand unevenly, putting the weight of the body into asymmetrical parts of the feet, or toe dwelling constantly. You don’t want to be a toe dweller. If you have an everted (turned out) stand it is likely that you are standing on the outside of your feet, and in your toes. All your parts were designed to move and load in a particular way. When you stand vertically with your load joints stacked (Ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, head) the body uses much less effort to hold you against gravity. Try to notice the pose you strike as you stand for a few minutes, I’d be willing to bet you end up on one side of your body and may even be able to lift the other foot off the ground completely without shifting much.
I’m sure you have heard that a forward head is a heavy head. That’s true. There are a plethora of negatives to having a forward head, besides that it will weigh an additional 10 lbs for every inch that it is forward of your ideal vertical. More also than just stretching your spinal cord up by centimeters, literally stressing your mind body connection. That’s not the only part of your body that struggles if you are leaning.
If you are forward on your toes, instead of stacking against gravity the posterior chain must work hard each moment you are standing. The body’s weight will rest in the calf muscles, the hamstrings, and the lower back. I have seen some very dysfunctional people get immediate relief just from standing on a wall for a few minutes, I do it every day. As you spend more time away from a vertical load, the more your body will adapt and the further from your ideal blueprint you will get. Areas working more than is necessary will get tighter, stronger, to prepare to hold you up. This will lead to inflammation, and eventually injury and pain. I’m talking chronic, debilitating, herniation style pain at the end of this road.
Preventing this is so simple, you just have to remind your body how you want it to be. One of the best ways is to stand against a wall.
- Weight in the heels (as close to the wall as you can get without going to toes)
- Butt touching the wall both cheeks
- Shoulders rolled back to the wall
- Let your head do it’s thing, don’t force it to the wall.
If you do this and it’s not entirely comfortable for you, you know that you need it a lot! Stay for a few minutes as you quiver and shake, your body will begin to workout how to adjust to allow you to fit into that space. Your femur position, pelvic position, all 3 sections of your spine, and your shoulder blades and rib cage will begin to communicate and find a new position.
When you come off the wall, for a time you will be more vertically loaded and standing between your feet a bit better. The trick to making this permanent is to carve out a couple minutes 1+ times a day. The cumulative stimulus of your reminders will encourage your body to adapt in order to serve you. The point of your body is to serve you, and it will to it’s detriment.
If you remind your body how to be, it will thank you by letting you feel more at ease and allowing you to access greater amounts of energy. As you are instilling this change, you want to spend as much time as possible vertically loaded. Do it as many times as you like. Try taking a before and after picture, or a week later picture.
Really, try it. Faver yourself. Leave me a comment about it if you want.