Life hack: Cold Showers
Cold showers are taken by all world class performers, athletes, and successful businessman and women alike. There is good reason for this. Cold showers are a tool for titans. Just a few of the many benefits of cold showers are: Improved mood and alertness, increased metabolic function (which means increased calorie burn, just from showering!), increased muscles recovery, decreased stress, depression relief, healthier skin and hair, improved circulation…. Have I sold you yet? The list is endless. I’m not saying you should abandon hot showers, either. What I have started doing is while taking my shower I keep it warm to hot as always, but the last 30-60 seconds I turn that knob all the way to artic enema, and dance in the icicle pellets. I step out feeling refreshes and ready to seize the day. But like anything, just give it a try. If it isn’t for you, then it isn’t for you. Try it for like a week and see how you feel.
What is bad posture?
It’s when you see people hunched over, or the head protrudes forward, or their arms round in front of their body, knees caving, etc. It basically means you have some sort of muscle imbalance and these imbalances can lead to a plethora of issues down the road, including injury
Issues caused by bad posture are
Decreased anterior muscle strength
Fall risk in older adults
Increased risk of injury
There are even suggestions that mood and behavior are affected by posture. Power Poses. (Amy Cuddy, American Social psychologist, TED Talk)
What causes bad posture?
Bad form. By using you can train yourself into bad posture because you are teaching your body to use an inefficient neurological pathway that can lead to muscles only being efficient in a limited range or motion.
Desk jobs. Sitting in a chair hunched over your keyboard for several hours a day can lead to bad form. Someone of you just can’t help that you must be in this position for most of the day, but you can help offset bad posture by training.
Hunched over phones. This is more prevalent in my generation, but I’ve seen people in this position where they are rounded over their phone and then wonder why their neck hurts. It’s because you have been sitting with terrible posture for way longer than you should have.
Slouching. This happens quite a lot, if you sit on the couch all day watching TV, or just spend a lot of time being inactive. Listen to what your mom told you when you were little and sit up straight.
What is good posture?
Ears over shoulders over hips over knees over ankles. Thumbs pointed forward. Pelvis neutral. Why does having good posture matter? Well on top of reversing all the stuff mentioned earlier about bad posture, you also create better and more efficient neurological pathways for your body.
So, let me take a minute an explain this big word, “neurological pathway”. You brain is the central hub over everything that happens in your body. A stimulus is brought to the brain, and the brain must decide how to respond to the stimulus. So, when you are training, if you try to do something like a bench press, and you have never done this movement before, the first time you do it, your brain must decide how it is going to perform this movement from now until the end of time. This is what people call “muscle memory”. You muscle doesn’t actually remember things; the brain just remembers what to tell the muscle to do. SO, if you have shortened or weak muscles due to bad posture, your brain will try to find that path of least resistance, and avoid using those weakened muscles. Now your brain is avoiding using the tight chest muscles because they are weak, so you create these compensations, like lifting your hips off the seat or rotating your torso to involve the shoulders and the lats. Over time, if this is not corrected, you could injure these smaller muscles because they are taking far more than their fair share of the load, and they just ware out so much faster than those big pectoral muscles would have.
How to fix bad posture
Active alignment every day. You must put a consistent focus on correcting your posture. This means sitting up tall and drawing your chin back. When you are bringing your ears over your shoulders, your chin should not raise up. Think of a chain at the base of your skull, pulling it into proper alignment. Think of rolling those shoulders back and tilting your upper torso back so that your shoulder are in line over your hips. Think of the sternum, which is the muscle all the ribs connect to in front of your body, as a cup of water. You want it straight up and down or what spill out. You want your pelvis to remain neutral. Just like the sternum, think of your pelvis as a bucket of water. If it tilts too far forwards or backwards, you are going to dump water out, and we don’t want that. After correcting the hips, the knees and ankle USUALLY correct themselves, though depending on your past injuries, this might not always be the case.
Foam roller, specific exercises. The foam roller is a tool that if you are not already utilizing, you should start thinking about adding it to your arsenal. Flexibility is extremely important to your posture, as it involves loosening up those tight muscles. While conventional static stretching will do a lot of good, foam rolling provides a different kind of release in your muscles that will promote more essential flexibility. One of my favorite exercise that I like to do, even if I have not worked about my back yet, is to lay on the roller the long way. You never want to roll over a joint, and your spine is made up of several joints, so be sure to lay on it the long way. Then, while I am on this roller, I rock side to side to start, then I begin to articulate my spine vertebrae by vertebrae and then I begin to circle my arms around to loosen up my trapezius. This is awesome for your posture.
Back strengthening exercises. You don’t want to skip your back. If you are suffering from bad posture, increasing flexibility is not going to cure your issue alone. Strengthening the back will allow your body to off set those tight anterior muscles by increase strength in the posterior chain. Don’t bail on your dead lifts. They are super important. Also, look up how to do a Jefferson Curl. This movement will work wonders on your back because not only does it strengthen often neglected little muscles in your back, but it also serves to increase mobility, which is huge for injury prevention.
Avoiding synergistic dominance. All the previously mentioned advice will help you to avoid this issue. A synergist is a muscle that helps a prime mover with an exercise. If your prime mover is inhibited due to things like bad posture, the synergists will pick up the slack. Synergistic dominance is those compensations I was talking about earlier. This is your shoulders take on way more load than they ever should in a bench press. Over time, synergistic dominance will lead to crippling injury, whether during exercising, or out in the real world, so we need to train in such a way that we are keeping this from happening.
So to summarize, Your body is a system of levers and pulleys. When one side of the pulley is tighter than the other, an imbalance is created, which leads to inefficiency in the body, and can eventually damage the body.
When lifting, use good form. I don’t care how much you lift, if your form is atrocious, you are atrocious and I’m not counting your lift. It looked terrible and I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance. You stressed me out way too much for me to give you the satisfaction of saying you did a good job on that terrible lift.
Alright guys, I hoped you learned something from this blog post, and if you did, please share it with your friends so I can change the world a little more. Next week we are talking about facing life’s hardest challenges and overcoming them while remaining a positive person; I have a really inspirational guest with me next week so you aren’t going to want to miss this one.
Now get out there and get after it!
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