Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Visual Guide To Our Posture

So how did it all go wrong?
By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

We spend billions of dollars on pain management, particularly back and neck pain. Those are the lucky ones, many are now suffering undiagnosed mystery pains.

Our poor modern posture also keeps us from being able to maintain activity levels as our age progresses.

Inability to move properly is linked with obesity.

Whenever we try to start working out again, we tend to get overly sore and hurt, and our form never seems to get better. And looking around the gym, everyone's form looks awful.

So they keep trying to invent more machines to bypass our failures, which makes exercise even more redundant. Or we go the other way and accept pain and suffering as a part of fitness and truck on.

And thus it creates a cycle of stress, pain, inability to move, weight gain, cravings, more stress, pain, less ability to move, more weight gain, worse cravings, and so on. Your body is like the game Jenga, whatever you do first affects everything else later.

How did this happen?

We evolved to be upright but we began sitting more than standing and just as standing all day would be painful for an ape, sitting all day is painful to our body.

Posture Matters

There is a risk to in throwing our back out whenever we bend over

We began moving like this.

Instead of like this, hinging at the hips and staying efficiently aligned.

And our posture changed. Does this look familiar?

And we began compensating (adapting) to our new lifestyle.

Our modern life demanded new challenges.

Standing up straight is no longer an issue of conscious choice but inability

And our bodies adapted to the demands. Adaptation doesn't always mean pain free or better.

The standard push up

Some have learned to get bigger, stronger, or even better conditioned but we are not moving better. Better movement and better alignment supersedes all other improvements.

But there was a time we didn't struggle with the most basic of movements and postures. As if this was what we were born to do.

Survival strength nonexistent

Being able to cling and pull your own body weight was a requirement for survival. Most adults can't do what this baby can do. It's not because of lack of muscle, this baby has yet to develop any dysfunctions. Imagine how your body would work with no dysfunction?

This is the saddest part of all. We can no longer squat and has become something so rare, you only see it in children or when you travel somewhere exotic. Honey look what the natives can do? They can actually sit down without a chair!

Some adults move much better than they did as a child. But that's no longer the average, those people are considered exceptional. 

What if size wasn't the limiting factor

What if you took off your shoes at home and did most of your activities on the floor. What would your range of motion be like? Be honest, outside of a few yoga classes, when are you ever doing anything on the floor with no shoes on? No wonder reaching for things down there, playing with your dog or kids is such a pain in the back and knees.

And what does sitting all day really have to do with our posture? Everything.

Sitting shuts off the glutes and everything below it

What happens when you are no longer sitting but are lying down all day? What new issues will we have?

No more predictions

You already see it. A lot of people now are getting sicker, fatter, and having a worse quality of life than their predecessors. Will this be the first generation to live a shorter life than their parents did?

Sitting is also bad for your brain

And proper movement and exercise good for the brain


We can move more, stand more, curate our movement, and not be static. It wasn't so long ago when we used to average 20,000 steps a day. Now its difficult to even average 5,000.

Technology is also catching up to right some of our wrongs.

Exercise is just a small aspect of the bigger world of movement and alignment

In fact there is no health advantage to prolonged sitting

There are also psychological benefits to better posture

Let me leave you with this amazing 86 year old gymnast


Sam Yang from an early age has been obsessed with connecting the dots between martial arts and efficiency, health, mindset, business, science, and habits to improve optimal well-being. For more info, join his newsletterYou can also connect to All Out Effort on Facebook and Twitter.

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