Proper posture and strong back and stomach muscles are the bases for not only a good look, but health as well. One from our readers felt this on her own skin since she could not straighten up for years until one day she felt an unbearable ache in her loins…
I have always known that proper body posture (straight back, chest and high head and shoulders back) is the first condition for leaving a good impression. Moreover, women who have a good posture seem slimmer and more confident. Unfortunately, hunched back and shoulders forward have been my natural pose and “trademark” for years. What’s more, with high heels and a heavy bag on my shoulder I looked even more hunched. I was aware that such body posture makes my body figure not so attractive; however, this was not the worst thing of all. One day, while getting up from the office chair, I felt an unbearable pain in the loins. I crushed on the chair, panicked that maybe even the smallest movement can turn me into a lifetime invalid!
High heels- the enemy
Luckily, this did not occur, but this incident made me consult a professional. I found out that more and more people, younger than 45, suffer from different forms of spine diseases, due to which they have to use medicines and undergo a proper physiotherapy. The main reasons for these problems are usually injuries and genetic predisposition. Also, stress, general body weakness and improper body posture often lead to appearance and development of spine diseases. The doctor explained that the posture affects the supporting spine device. And, if you stand or sit with your back hunched, you increase the pressure onto the vertebrae, joints, muscles and ligaments that support the spine. High heels may be good allies for seduction, but not for health.
After the doctor diagnosed the problem, physiotherapy followed. Moreover, new and not so pleasant discoveries occurred-my right shoulder and left hip were higher compared to the left shoulder and right hip and, from the side, my body was in the form of a question mark! This did not came as a surprise to me since my father looks the same and almost all relatives from his side look similarly- tallish, thin, and with an elongated torso. During my entire schooling period I suffered because of how I am built. What’s more, I hated the fact that I was the tallest and the skinniest among the girls in the class, and in puberty I suffered because of my small breasts. Therefore, I walked with my head down and shoulders forward since I thought that I would be less noticed. My mom constantly warned me to straighten up but this only created a bigger complex and my shoulders were less and less backwards.
Lack of sporting activities
Sports would have probably been of great use, but I always refused to practice any sport, since I considered that I look even worse in light sport clothes than in the baggy clothes in which my figure was not so noticeable. Later on, when being slim became fashionable, I finally accepted my 180 cm height and started to look at it as a plus and point it out even more by wearing high heels. Unfortunately, my hunched back was under pressure even more. Also, after I got a job, I spent hours and hours in sitting position.
A woman with an old lady’s body
What the therapist said to me during the first meeting was rather shocking:” Your groin muscles are the same as of an eighty year old lady!” He added that such a condition is a direct consequence of improper posture and physical inactivity. When he told me to bend and touch my toes with my hands, it was impossible and in that moment I really felt as a granny. The therapist said that back pain usually appears after the age of 30; sometimes even earlier because of excessive sitting (I have only 29!). Besides this, I also found out that office life, due to the long and improper sitting is on the list of the five most dangerous professions for the back. Namely, we have more difficulty to maintain a proper body posture while sitting than when standing, and sitting compared to laying, causes three times more pressure to the disks which support the vertebrae.
A new regime
My doctor prescribed stretching and strengthening of the back and groin muscles exercises, which were extremely difficult to perform. I thought that I could not withstand, but I knew that this was inevitable so I tried to maintain discipline. After the end of the therapy, he explained to me that I also need to change my lifestyle, so that the results achieved with the therapy, hold on. Moreover, he added that while I am at work, I have to stand up and take a little walk every one hour, as well as to keep my arms behind the backrest while I am reading emails and not typing. I found this easy, but I regretted having to give up high heels since they were completely forbidden to me! Another problem was the home exercises and recreational outings. It was pretty painful since I was not used to sports, so I acted undisciplined.
Nothing without discipline
After only a few weeks, I “regained” my old, hunched posture. However, the strong and excessively painful cramps made me consult a physiatrist again. I underwent the therapy from ten physical sessions again and I paid for it through the nose! But, I managed to learn a lesson and I accepted the fact that adequate physical activity is a necessary commitment. The therapist explained to me that he can cure my posture temporarily with the prescribed exercises, but nothing will essentially change until I strengthen the stomach muscles. Out of all the activities, I found Pilates most interesting. Namely, these types of exercises strengthen the muscles and it was primarily created as a form of physical rehabilitation. I am a bit ashamed to confess that during the first training, I was breathless only after 10 minutes, although I enlisted for the most moderate form of physical activity. But, somehow I decided to persevere.
Now, after only few months of regular Pilates, yoga and back muscles’ exercises, my body looks completely different. My back is stronger, and the body muscles are tighter. I look better than before and because of this I am free to proudly straighten up. Recently, on an examination, the physiatrist noted a significant improvement. And, just to add, I am now able to touch my toes with my fingers! When it comes to high heels, I do wear them sometimes on some special occasions.