One of my favorite strength training workouts is kettle bells. I use a particular DVD program and the trainer is constantly telling us to stand tall, shoulders back, stomach sucked in. Any time you exercise, using correct form makes all the difference. If you try to do certain strength training exercises in particular with improper form, not only can you injure yourself, but you will not activate the right muscles – so the exercise will be ineffective.
This particular trainer encourages these form tips because he says “your body shapes the way you move it.” That got me to thinking. I know that if you do crunches for your abs improperly, you build those muscles out instead of flat and in. You can do thousands of crunches and if you don’t concentrate on intentionally keeping those abdominal muscles pulled in while you do them – they will permanently form “pooched” out! Exactly what you DON’T want!
It also made me think about my dad. Close to 30 years ago when he was in his mid-50’s he began walking with his shoulders curved forward slightly. I remember his doctor telling him to do a set of posture exercises each morning that would’ve taken under 10 minutes a day in order to correct that.
Well, he ignored that, and now in his 80’s he is extremely bent over. Not only does that posture make him look older, it has affected his breathing. You try it – hunch over from the shoulders and then try and take a nice, deep breath. It’s darned near impossible. Then I remember my grandmother, my Giagia. At close to 90, I remember looking at her sitting by her window and marveling at her beautiful posture. She always reminded me to stand up straight and I am glad I listened. Recently as I walked through Walmart a woman stopped me and commented on my perfect posture. All the reminders must have paid off.
Not only do you look slimmer and younger, but you just feel better and more confident when you hold yourself tall.
Make it a point for the next few days to intentionally be aware of your posture, when you stand, walk and sit. And let me remind you right now: stand tall, pull your abs in, relax your shoulders and walk like you’re someone special – because you are!