Nursing Home In a Post-Texting World

OK, I admit this picture is a bit dark, but don't give up texting quite yet, the relationship between movement and posture isn't quite that causal (2).  That said, the comic does reminds us that our postures (and behaviours) are not just a single event, but the end product of movement and choices expressed over a lifetime.

Each time you text, each step you take, how you move at work or at the gym;  over time, you are shaped in the ways in which you consistently perform these acts.  It’s an incredible and continuous act of learning that occurs between you and your environment, with and without your awareness and attention (3).

The opportunity lies here:  With each and every movement you're offered a fresh chance to observe, learn, and develop how you interact in the world.  This can include expressing new movement, positions, and behaviours that taken over time, can positively influence how you perform and experience the things you do; including how you use and shape your 'body'.

The opportunity is for the taking.

Resources/ People/ Ideas related to the Alexander Technique in this post


2. Massion, J., Alexandrov, A., & Frolov, A. (2004). Why and how are posture and movement coordinated? Progress in brain research, 143, 13-27.

2. Krakauer, J. W., & Mazzoni, P. (2011). Human sensorimotor learning: adaptation, skill, and beyond. Current opinion in neurobiology. 21(4), 636-644.

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Posture Without Bracing?


Forcing yourself to sit or stand up straight simply doesn’t work well. We've all tried (myself included), yet despite this strategy failing to work we pretty much continue to do the same thing.

Sure, a select few people with will-power of steel have successfully 'fixed' themselves upright.  Unfortunately this consistently results in a stiff bracing with limited freedom of movement, restricted breathing, and elimination of the sense of ’naturalness’ in posture or poise.

Einstein supposedly said ...'insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result'.  So are we all insane? Maybe, but I think we've actually got quite a few tools to re-imagine this problem.  Here's one:

Re-imagine Posture as Readiness For Movement


The science behind how posture works is tricky business and there’s still much to discover.  Sometimes what’s found seems counter-intuitive to our normal approach.  For instance, some research suggests that overly bracing yourself may actually work against your own automatic (largely subconscious) postural control; sort of like interfering with your own postural auto-pilot.¹

Excessively contracting your trunk muscles to hold good posture may be causing more ’noise’ in your system, limiting the ability of your brain to do this skilled balance work for you.¹

One idea to re-frame what ‘good' posture means in your own life is to view it as a state of readiness for movement.² If you’re slumped, collapsed, or (it’s opposite) stiffly braced, then you’re less ready for movement in any and all directions.  If you’re balanced, engaged, and lighter on your feet or seat, you’re more ready for movement in any and all directions.

In standing, sitting, working at a desk, and everything in-between, a fuller expression of ‘good’ posture is often a simple by-product of being more ready to move.

 So the next time you catch yourself ‘fixing’ your posture, instead of ingraining a worn out old strategy, turn an old idea on it's head: Re-imagine posture without bracing and test out a new state, position, or set-up to access your readiness to move.

Resources/ People/ Ideas related to the Alexander Technique in this post

1. Reeves, N. P., Everding, V. Q., Cholewicki, J., & Morrisette, D. C. (2006). The effects of trunk stiffness on postural control during unstable seated balance. Experimental Brain Research, 174(4), 694-700.

2. Jones, F. P. (1997). Freedom to change: The development and science of the Alexander Technique. London: Mouritz. *"posture as a phase of movement”.

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