Almost everybody in the modern world deal with the same annoying problem: bad posture.
It is a direct effect of a widespread sedentary lifestyle, which messes up our backs, combined with a lot of static work, with our hands in front of our bodies (think typing on a keyboard), that creates a brutal tightening and shortening of the muscles in the chest area. Throw in on top of this, that most people’s favorite exercise in the gym is bench press/push-ups.
The cure to this problem should be obvious, however very difficult to carry out consistently in reality. That is:
– An active and upright/standing lifestyle
– Strengthening of the back muscles
– Stretching/elongation of the frontal muscles i.e. the chest and shoulders.
I won’t talk about the second part of the solution today, as this should be carried out with a balanced resistance training regiment, which could be a blog post for another day.
However, the first and last part of the solution is something I may be able to help you with – with the Philosophers Walk.
First of all, you should find it clear why I recommend taking a lot of walks in general. Many of the greatest minds in history were big proponents of taking walks, and since I am personally a big proponent of contemplation, introspection and strategic thinking, walks seems to go together perfectly with this set of values.
Walking around calmly is a great method for getting some serious thinking done. It prevents you, to some degree, from checking up on the usual distractions of your gadgets, which allows for a deeper level of thought, compared to just sitting in your office chair. Generally, movement also has many positive effects on cognition, and might therefore allow you to be even more creative and a better problem solver.
Further, walking will help you solve the general problem of leading a sedentary life. It is that basic, slow movement, that has played a great role in our evolutionary history, but has since then been outsourced to cars and elevators.
So walking is great, but what this post is about, is the way you walk. My idea is to get you to walk with your hands behind your back (like in the picture), in whichever way you like; hold your own hand, wrist or finger – it really doesn’t matter.
All that matters is that you put your arms behind you, and if you are are anything like me, you should feel a very distinct stretch in your chest when you do so. This is telling you, that you are putting your body out of its regular position, and it is a stretch that pulls on your shoulders – backwards towards a better posture.
If you do this enough, you should see an overall improvement in your posture over time.
So try and practice the philosophers walk every day!
To many, walking this way might seem silly, or like the gait of an older person. But I think it looks cool, like you are being philosophical, and that it reminds me to do some better quality thinking, whenever I go for a walk.
Let me know what you think!