Friday, September 17, 2010

Stand Tall Soldier

I give you Exhibit A:

Perhaps you remember seeing it before? Ever since this photo popped up on my laptop screen, I've had nothing but my poor posture on the brain. Aside from contributing to that pesky thing called osteoporosis, bad posture is just down right unattractive. Those slumping shoulders need to go--like yesterday. 

How fortuitous then that one of my favorite vintage fashion blogs recently started running a series of posts entitled: Friday Charm School. You can read her post on good posture and proper walking form here: Couture Allure Friday Charm School Posture Post.

So, fully armed with adequate instruction, I decided to take it upon myself to improve my chances of maintaining strong, healthy bones by improving my posture. As with all of the projects I engage in, I find myself running a mental commentary on my adventures. I thought I might share with you a few of the thoughts that I've had during Mission Perfect Posture. 

  1. Standing straight and tall will introduce you to muscles you never knew you had. There will be a pinching in your back that will make you want to scream for mercy. Your abs will feel like they've gone a few rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali. My dear friend and trainer Jeanne says this is normal. She even goes so far as to say that if I walked this way all day long, every day, I could cut my core training by half and still rock abs of steel. She also claims that if I stick with the whole good posture thing, it will eventually feel normal and that annoying searing pain will be but a memory. Of course this is also the girl who tells me chocolate is bad and tofu is good, so take her words with several grains of salt. 
  2. It is mentally exhausting to keep up the perfect posture. My brain has no room for anything but thinking "shoulders back and down, abs in, head high, heel, toe, heel, toe" in a constant repeating cycle. If I miss even a single phrase of my inner monologue, the entire production falls apart. This intense concentration means that I can't focus on answering the difficult questions I'm posed during a typical day--such as"Paper or Plastic?" Add in the fact that my sinus infection makes me feel like my entire head is buried in a pot of honey, and I'm pretty much useless in the social realm these days. More than usual, I mean.
  3. Once you start thinking about posture, you can't help but notice it all the time. You not only become aware of yourself sliding back into your shoulder slumping, frumpy ways, but you also notice how large a percentage of the population is right there loafing with you. I felt very conspicuous sitting with a perfectly straight back in the waiting room at the doctor's office when everyone else was slouched down in the less-than-comfortable chairs. I felt eyes watching me, and I imagined them wondering why I was all hoity-toity. As someone who prefers to blend into the background, I had to constantly fight the desire to drop my shoulders and curve my spine. So I distracted myself by playing with my iPad--I'm sure that helped convince them that I was not at all pretentious, right?

  It is generous to say that this project of mine remains a work in progress, and will probably continue to be so well into my 80s. Take for instance, Exhibit B: 
 While it's without a doubt an improvement, those shoulders could still stand to come back and up a bit more. But at least I have my facial features arranged in a somewhat normal alignment--so perhaps my brain is beginning to get used to the challenge of handling two jobs at once? Just don't ask me any questions.

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