Do you feel like you! re losing the fight against gravity as time goes on? Teresa Miller, PT, MS, of the SUNY Downstate Physical Therapy Program, has provided this easy postural awareness routine to help you look and feel better. It can be done wherever you are, whenever you think about it—like when you feel tired, bored or uncomfortable.

As time goes on, we tend to move our bodies in ways that become familiar. These patterns can become habitual and can limit our ability to adapt to changes in our environment. They can also put a strain on muscles and joints which may lead to pain. This easily performed postural awareness activity will help you to become more familiar with your current posture and help you to explore other options that may require less effort and less energy to maintain.

Assessment: To assess your posture, first, stand straight with your arms at your sides in a posture that is familiar to you. Try to feel where your weight is distributed on the soles of your feet. Is it more on the balls or the heels of your feet, or somewhere in the middle? Is it on the inside or the outside of your foot, or in the middle? Do you have more weight on one foot as compared to the other? Now draw an imaginary circle around your feet on the floor. Without attempting to change anything about your posture, ask yourself where around that circle, do you tend to sway to most often. Imagine yourself as a building, with your feet as the basement. How do the other floors line up over your feet?

Activity I: Now gently and slowly slump a bit. Begin to lose your fight against gravity while keeping your knees straight. How does this affect the curves in your body? Straighten up while imagining a balloon tied to the top of your head helping you rise, gently making you taller. Do this 10-20 times and become familiar with how your body feels as you do it. Return to the Assessment and reassess your posture.

Activity II: Now, as you slump, gently accentuate the movement of your chin out in front of you. How does that change the curves in your body and the arrangement of the floors of your imaginary building? Return to your upright position. Repeat this 10-20 times. Now go back to the Assessment and reassess your posture.

Activity III: Now, slightly bend your knees and hips and slump. Look towards your feet, letting your whole body soften in a downward direction as if every joint in your body were losing its fight against gravity. As you do this, imagine your body curving softly around a large ball placed in front of your chest. As you return to your upright position, imagine the balloon on your head again, lengthening you in an upward direction.

Before Starting any exercise program you are urged to consult a physician. Good luck and have fun!

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