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The Executive Posture

5 Ways Executives have Improved Posture:5-10 minutes of targeted stretching before bed. Movement meetings and breaks – walking and talking for one-on-one’s, hourly flight of stairs. Half and Half workouts– half mobility and half targeted strength. On-the-road yoga – online yoga memberships to practice in hotel rooms. Tennis ball foam rolling – can be done almost anywhere (not safe while driving)

When I say “faking posture”, I mean those moments when we are sitting at a desk hunched over the keyboard and leering at the screen to suddenly sit upright when someone steps into the office. Or when we exaggerate a confident image by squeezing our shoulders together at a presentation. For whatever reasons we fake posture, it’s a short-term solution. It is hard work to fight against muscular imbalances and gravity. Videos and pictures on the “perfect” posture, while they can help reduce stress on our joints, are unrealistic to achieve for an hour, let alone as a long-term solution. Do you suffer from poor posture? Move more.

Test if you can sit or stand with a perfect posture for 30 minutes and feel relaxed, eg breathe deeply and normally while doing actual work.

After 30 minutes, stand up and walk around for 1 minute. Sit back down and assess your posture.Dr. Stuart McGill is a low-back pain expert from Canada whose research I have followed over the past decade. His advice that a healthy posture cannot be achieved without movement has worked time and again with my clients. He helped uncover the myth that crunches and sit-ups can reduce low-back pain back in the 90’s. Many exercises that used to be prescribed for low-back pain, in fact, made it worse because they often isolated and strengthened muscles already shortened from long periods of sitting – your hip flexors and rectus abdominis. Dr. McGill prescribes varied movement as one major step to help your posture. Circle your arms, circle your ankles, change your sitting position, walk, add in a stretch, shift your weight when standing, bend forward to stretch your backside, or extend your arms above your head to stretch your frontside. At Hoag Executive Health we perform a posture screen and design quick stretching series to achieve muscular balance and the ability to stand or sit well without all of the effort. In the meantime, great success can be achieved just by moving.

By Kyla Bauer, Exercise Physiologist, PN1 Coach