Did that title paint a pretty picture? Moms, Dads, does it sound familiar? Being a mom of three, I’ve had my time as the hunchback of stroller-dame. Imagine this; I’m enjoying a stroll with my baby on a beautiful day when I pass by a storefront and catch a glimpse of my reflection – shoulders rounded, chest caved in, upper back curved – I immediately become the sergeant and straighten up like a soldier! As I straighten up, I realize how much tension has been released in my upper back and neck. How much easier I’m able to breathe. I can actually fill my lungs to capacity! What a testament to the benefits of good posture.
So what is good posture? Think of it as a sensation, a feeling of wellness that comes when you know the difference between moving around with tension and moving freely without it – this happens when joints are in their optimal alignment. Now when it comes to “the stroller hunch,” a myriad of factors come into play. Moms, Dads, you know what I’m talking about; sleep deprivation, too much caffeine, not enough caffeine, little toddlers running around that you must keep fed and alive, etc. This leads to exhaustion which leads to a lack of awareness. The body collapses onto itself, falling into a comfortable posture. Let’s not forget, the stroller itself must be considered. Is it a good fit? Not just for the baby but for your body and height; that’s a whole other topic. For this post, I will focus on optimal body mechanics while strolling around.
Save your neck and shoulders, get rid of the stroller hunch. First, get familiar with where you feel the tension and adjust your body to find your optimum posture. Here are a few checkpoints to take note of:
- Tuck your chin back. When I say this to people, they usually tuck their chin in so that it’s closer to their chest; instead, think about bringing your chin back towards your ears. Then imagine the crown of your head being pulled toward the ceiling like a magnet.
- Ideally, place your hands so that your palms face each other. This might mean grabbing the stroller handle on the far left and right ends. This alignment travels up your wrist and places the shoulder joint in a neutral position.
- Next, sternum lifted, puff your chest out like a proud bird (to paint a visual). This is done by contracting your mid-back muscles (specifically, the rhomboids). These are the muscles between the scapulas (the triangular-shaped bones on our upper back). To engage, imagine an orange in between your scapulas and squeeze.
- Did you know we have a natural corset in our bodies? It’s called the transverse abdominis-the innermost abdominal muscle. To engage it, imagine your pulling up a zipper from your lower to upper abdominals while you draw in your navel.
- Finally, be mindful of your lower back. An overly arched lower back will cause pain because it throws your kinetic chain out of alignment. Try this exercise; Perform a few pelvic tilts while standing to find a neutral position for your pelvis and low back. Your tailbone should be slightly tucked and abdominals contracted. A hyper-arched lower back may also mean your hip flexors are tight, your glutes and core need more strengthening.
I know the above is a lot to keep track of, choose one thing to focus on and once that becomes second nature, add another. Be kind to yourself and get a massage to help relief some tension. Contact me for a personalized program to address weak, and imbalanced muscles. I offer virtual training to make reaching your fitness goals convenient and attainable from anywhere.
I hope this has been helpful. Your feedback and comments are appreciated. Thanks for reading!
Stand Tall, Breathe Deep-