Don’t you feel like everything is starting to repeat itself now? Six weeks into #iso in Australia and I feel like some of us are thriving and some of us are tiring. You will have your go-getters who fall into the Winston Churchill category: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” While other of us look more like the cats below. The beauty of what I am about to share is that it doesn’t matter where you are on this spectrum; it will help you move better, feel better and hopefully give you more vitality.
What you do everyday defines you. Defines your mood, your posture, how your body feels and your quality of focus. Everyone believes that your brain dictates everything in your body, but it’s only a part of the feedback loop that makes up your system. Studies have shown that poor repeated seated posture (shown below) can dramatically increase the depressive, anxious and sad feelings that you experience even if you are in a good mood. The reason it does this is because of the body-brain feedback loop.
When you are sad, anxious or stressed there is a physical response in your body that changes certain hormones like cortisol and testosterone, but it also changes your posture. Think about a time you have felt this way. Did you make yourself small? Curl up in a ball? Put your head in your hands? This rolled forward posture is associated with these negative feelings. You might just be curled up on the couch watching TV and not realising that you are continuing the negative cycle: Poor posture – leads to- feeling sad and unmotivated – leads to sitting on couch rolled up – leads to poor posture. You notice that now you are leaning over your work during the day, not moving much, rolling up into a ball after work and wondering why you are feeling so tired, unmotivated and unhappy? How many hours a day are you in these postures? What you do everyday is what defines you!
Even if you are feeling like a go-getter are you noticing more of this rolled up pattern than normal? It’s okay if this IS what is happening to you. The cool thing is, it’s super easy to change this. It only takes two minutes! If rolling forward and getting small makes you feel sad, then opening up and making yourself big is exactly what you need. Amy Cuddy in her Ted Talk calls in Power Posing. By adopting a Power Pose for two minutes, you can decrease the negative stress hormone cortisol and increase your testosterone. This will sharpen your focus, increase your good mood and start to change those negative habits you may have accidentally adopted.
I am going to further increase these good mood boosters by adding some body movements that are going to make your spine, hips and shoulders sing with happiness! You can do these movements at any stage throughout the day to break whatever habit you need. The more you move throughout the day, the better you feel. My advice is to do all of them mid morning, and mid afternoon during the week. It will take you around 2 minutes if you do the movements anywhere between 3-10 times each side.
First movement is for your hips and low spine. Start by lying on your back with your feet flat and hip width apart. You then let both knees drop to one side, just to where you feel comfortable. Then back to middle and the opposite side.
Second movement is for your spine and shoulders! Start by side lying with your knees and arms stacked. To begin the movement reach the top hand as far forward as you can. Then, keeping your hand close to your body start to reach to the other side. Reach as far as you can, trying to ground your shoulder and then return. Remember move where you can don’t push it!
Back to your hips for our third movement. You have the option to use your hands for support or to do it without. Start with both legs in a 90/90 position to one side. Then plant your feet down and lift your knees to turn to the other side. Only go as far as you can.
Last but not least our fourth movement for spine and shoulders. Starting on all fours you reach one hand between your arm and knee as far as you can. Return to the centre and repeat on the opposite side. For extra hip movement you can take your knees wider or more narrow depending on how you feel!
Using these tips and movements to introduce some new routine into your day will help re-shape what defines you. Set alarms to remind yourself to perform these movements or Power Poses. Do them with your team, kids, puppy or parents. These movements apply to everyone and anyone can do them. Happy moving!
For more movements and workouts please check out my YouTube Channel: