Mini Posturecise – 30 Seconds a Day is all it Takes

So if 30 lectures feels a little overwhelming, or working on your posture for 60 minutes daily, like a mountain to climb, then what you need is a new mini posture habit.

Failure isn’t falling down. Failure is not getting up after you have fallen down. Richard Nixon

Are you exercising daily? Have you enrolled in one of my courses, started out super motivated and then after a week or a couple days or maybe even a day, left it and never returned? Perhaps you are still thinking you need to give your body alignment (posture) some attention, but you just haven’t started.

30 seconds is all it takes

Wherever you are at with your health regime, this post is going to have you finally succeed … but only if you finish reading and actually do what I suggest. AND, I promise, it will only take you 30 seconds.

Are you willing to give 30 seconds a day to improve your posture? Great! I’m guessing 30 seconds is reasonable enough, for even the most persistent procrastinator.

Habits

I love to read. Mostly I love to read non-fiction books on health, success, goals and personal growth – super geek alert!

One of the first books on habit creation I read was The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Basically, he explains that successful habits depend on three things:

  • cue
  • behavior
  • reward

You can use these steps to create a new habit or change an unwanted habit. Duhigg recommends keeping the same cue and simply changing the behavior and seeing which leads to the greatest reward.



As an example, I’m currently working on creating a new habit of getting out of bed 30 minutes earlier. My usual wake time is 7am. 6.30am rising leaves me with more energy (seems counter intuitive, but it’s true), gives me a sense of purpose and I find I’m generally happier. Those are my rewards.

Let’s review the process. The cue is my phone alarm going off at 6.30am – and by the way, I leave the phone in the bathroom, so I have to get up to shut it off! Remember Duhigg suggests only adjusting the behaviors, while keeping the same cue.

These are the different behaviors I have tried so far:

  • Just getting straight up – that resulted in my peeing, and going straight back to bed … sigh
  • Getting up and going right into the shower – This worked quite well, but I prefer showing at night before bed, because I like getting into clean sheets with a clean body; AND I’m always cold in the winter, so love a shower to warm me up before bed.
  • Reading – this one I really enjoy. I have a wee and then I cozy back into my warm bed (with Milo) and read. I did that this morning, but my eyelids were so heavy, I almost fell back to sleep. It also feels like a bit of a cheat!
  • Dry skin brushing – this is my newest behavior choice. I used to skin brush regularly but have got out of the habit. Basically, the theory goes that brushing the skin (our largest organ) helps to rid the body of toxins, improving alertness and overall health. It’s a bit of a shocker first thing, but certainly does the trick waking me up!

It’s early days, so I haven’t chosen the exact behavior I will settle on, but skin brushing is currently a good contender. Which ever one I choose, I already delight in the rewards of 6.30am rising.

Stop saying you’re fine

Recently I read Mel Robbin’s book, Stop Saying You’re Fine. Good book! The first 100 pages are a bit repetitive. You’re never going to feel like it, she says about 1,000 different ways. Then her book gets really good. Here is her book summarized for you in five easy steps:

  1. You’re never going to feel like it
  2. You get motivated from action
  3. Use the 5 second rule
  4. Make a pebble plan
  5. Choose a punishment

Basically, your brain is never going to tell you it’s fun to get up early, or to not eat chocolate cake, or turn off the TV to read, or go to the gym. You’re NEVER going to feel like it, so stop waiting for the right feeling and do it anyway!

Stop waiting to feel motivated! Motivation comes from action. If you are waiting to feel motivated, you may be waiting a long time. Take an action; any action and watch the motivation grow.

When you think of something you know you should do – calling your mother, paying a bill, going to the gym, making healthy soup or walking the dog – use the 5 second rule. Count down from five, four, three, two, one and be sure you begin to act within the five seconds or your brain will convince you not to do it. Act quickly to ride the action wave!

Robbins explains that in order to cross a river, you step pebble to pebble or rock to rock, until you get to the other side. If you have a goal to lose 50 pounds, you need a plan. Grab a big sheet of paper and some colored markers. That is my go-to, when pebble planning.

Write out your goal in the middle of the page – LOSE 50 POUNDS – Now draw 18 pebbles or stones on the paper, nice and large. Fill in all the stones – whatever comes to mind:

  • Get a really good recipe for healthy green breakfast smoothy
  • Call 3 friends and ask them for 3 ideas
  • Walk kids to school 1 day a week
  • Make one healthy crockpot meal (every Sunday)
  • Research weight loss blogs
  • Create a gold star chart for the fridge
  • etc.

Choose a punishment – this is the answer to what if I don’t do it. Choose a pebble a day, or each week and do it! If you don’t do it, you need some sort of retribution. I’ve chosen my buddy Tara – she and I did pebble plans over beers at a Toronto distillery a couple weeks ago. We tell each other which pebble we are doing each week, and so far we are loving it.

Robbin’s suggested reprimand is slightly brutal – but I like it! She suggests throwing $20 dollars out the window, when you are driving. Imagine how much that would hurt. Ouch!

Mini Habits

Currently I’m reading Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. It’s a tiny – read in one day – sort of book. It’s no masterpiece; he isn’t a great writer, but it’s a nice little winner.

I’ve only read 50 pages and basically the science is simple. If exercising (or Posturecising) for an hour every day feels way to tough, then make it ridiculously simple. I’ve been saying this to my patients and students for years!

Make it so silly simple, you can’t possibly fail.

This is how I began Posturecising and creating a healthy daily habit for life. I now Posturecise without fail, every morning. If I miss a day, it’s no biggy, because I’ve neurologically wired it into my brain; so it’s easy to simply pick up again.

Mini Posturecise

Have you been struggling to create your own daily posture exercise routine? If you’ve already enrolled on one of my courses, great. At least you won’t waste time thinking about which exercise to do and in what order.

So if 30 lectures feels a little overwhelming, or working on your posture for 60 minutes daily, like a mountain to climb, then what you need is a new mini posture habit.

A mini habit is just that – a super small, stupidly simply task. One you can not fail to complete.

Tasks

File all my business receipts (a task I despise)

mini task – file one receipt a day

Learn to do chin ups (a goal I’ve been talking about for years)

mini task – hang from bar 5
sec daily

Eat 5+ servings of veg daily

mini task – eat one radish a day 

Get 6-pack abs

mini task – do a 5 second plank daily

I’m guessing all of you could do the four mini tasks I listed above.

Posturecise Task

You want to have good looking posture, am I right? Let’s break it down. Ideally I’d have you each completing my Posturecise program daily.

Further Resources: Posturecise (Level 1) – How to create a healthy habit for life

But you’re struggling, or I’m guessing you wouldn’t still be reading. If I were to give you a list of exercises to choose from, you could pick the one most relevant to you. Or just choose the one that looks like the most fun.

Take a look through the list – watch as many of the videos as you like, until you’ve chosen your exercise. Once you’ve selected your exercise, I want you to drop what you are doing, set the timer on your phone for 30 seconds and do the exercise for 30 seconds.

Does that sound easy? It is!

  1. Basic chin tuck 
  2. Prevent hump back 
  3. Treat your bunions – home mobilization 
  4. Sciatica leg pain relief 
  5. Neck pain exercise 
  6. Spine shifts – for stiff lower back 
  7. How to treat a stiff neck
  8. Chest opener – for round shoulders
  9. Driving stretch  
  10. Hip flexibility exercise 

Recap

  • choose your exercise from the list above
  • set the timer on your phone for 30 seconds
  • do the exercise
  • set your phone alarm to go off same time each day
  • do the exercise daily for the next 30 days

CONGRATULATIONS, you have a new mini Posturecise habit! What exercise did you choose?

Poor Posture? How NOT to Give Up | Posture Doctor

I was a chiropractor with terrible forward head posture. When did this happen?! It became my absolute mission to correct my granny-like appearance.

“Ever Tried?
Ever Failed?
No Matter.
Try Again.
Fail Again.
Fail Better.”
(author unknown)


One of the Biggest Posture Mistakes you can make is giving up when you don’t get immediate results. This really frustrates me, because I know what it is like to have unattractive painful posture, because I did. The sixth year into private practice as a chiropractor, I saw a picture of myself from my own clinic opening and I was horrified by what I saw.



I was a chiropractor with terrible forward head posture. When did this happen?! It became my absolute mission to correct my granny-like appearance. I began eating, sleeping and dreaming posture and went on to gain a fellowship in the physics of posture. I guess it’s fair to say, I fell in love with posture.

Further Reading  >> My Story

I know what it is to struggle and not see immediate results, because I was THAT person. When you refuse to give up, you go from feeling fed up with painful, unattractive posture and arriving in a place you never thought possible!

Painful Posture? Are You Masking Your Pain? | Posture Doctor

Imagine that you are driving along a long stretch of road, late for a meeting one afternoon, and the oil light comes on in your car. You think that you haven’t time to do anything about the oil, so you stick a piece of tape over the light. Now you can’t see the light and you feel better. Don’t you?

Years ago, long before I began helping people correct their posture, I was suffering from chronic daily headaches. I used to think nothing of taking daily aspirin, and I did that for a number of years.

One morning in college (many years ago), while listening to an academic present a provocative speech on health and well-being, he asked us if the medication we take, knows how to find the headache – or, did with think the medication might possibly affect our entire body? Although seemingly obvious, I hadn’t thought of it like this before. I didn’t want chemicals affecting my entire body – I just wanted to be rid of my headaches.



Further Reading: The 7 Biggest Posture Mistakes

Imagine that you are driving along a long stretch of road, late for a meeting one afternoon, and the oil light comes on in your car. You think that you haven’t time to do anything about the oil, so you stick a piece of tape over the light. Now you can’t see the light and you feel better. Don’t you?

Oil acts as a lubricant and prevents metal engine parts from coming in contact with other metal parts. If you didn’t change your oil or oil filter in your car, dirt would accumulate in the engine and the oil would lose its lubricating qualities and eventually the filter would stop working. The metal parts in your car would experience premature wear and eventually your engine would seize up and break down.

Our bodies are a little bit like that. You can only ignore the warning signs for so long. When we take medication, we temporarily feel better because we don’t feel the pain, but the problem still exists. Don’t be fooled into believing that pain medication cures anything. Pain killers mask problems. Eventually the medication stops working and it becomes difficult to restore health. When we medicate, we fail to address the cause of the problem and therefore face the possibility of premature wear and chronic health issues.

It’s tempting to medicate when we have pain, because of the hectic pace of our 24-hour lifestyle. Don’t wait for the pain. Start addressing your health and posture right now. Don’t mask your pain when it comes; and it will come! Learn to trust your body to heal and better still, ask for help. It isn’t easy at the beginning, but over time you can reset your pain threshold, until the once 8/10 headache becomes a manageable 1/10 headache, that has you listen and respond to your body’s everyday needs.

Further Reading: The Posture Doctor (Chapter 8 – What About My Pain?)

How to Fix Your Posture – Spinal Curves | Posture Doctor

If you have spent years trying to correct your posture with exercise programs and numerous approaches, but when you look in the mirror you see little change, then you may have a structural problem that requires a structural solution.

This common mistake may be the biggest reason why, you will never correct your posture …

One very common mistake people make when correcting their posture, is they use the wrong treatment approach. If you’ve been following my 7 Biggest Posture Mistakes series, you’ll recall that we distinguished structural problems from functional problems.

For the 10-20% of us whose bad posture has a structural cause (scoliosis, short leg, worn discs, reversed spinal curves for example), the appropriate treatment approach must also be structural. In other words, a structural problem, needs a structural solution!

A functional or generic treatment approach (exercise classes, personal training, muscle strengthening) can never take altered spinal curves and straighten them out. It doesn’t matter how gifted your practitioner, therapist or exercise guru is, if the structure of the spine is not understood, and specific traction and/or mirror image rehab exercises applied, you will never get the results that you want.



If you have a structural problem, you need someone who is qualified to understand the structure of the spine and has hopefully spent many years measuring and interpreting posture from the study of spinal x-rays. A mechanic may be very gifted at recognizing problems from the external sounds your car is making, but they would NEVER give you a diagnosis or ‘treat’ your car, without first studying what is underneath the hood!

If you have spent years trying to correct your posture with exercise programs and numerous approaches, but when you look in the mirror you see little change, then you may have a structural problem that requires a structural solution.

Where do you think the structural problems are in your spine and what makes you think that?

Understanding the REAL Cause of Poor Posture | Posture Doctor

Have you been everywhere and tried everything to correct your posture, but when you look in the mirror you see little, if any difference?

Have you been everywhere and tried everything to correct your posture, but when you look in the mirror you see little, if any difference?

A common mistake people make when trying to correct their posture is not understanding the real cause of poor posture. Many have tried several types of treatment and various exercise regimes in the past, but when they look in the mirror, they see little if any change. Does that sound familiar? If it does, then you may have a structural posture issue.

Further Reading: The 7 Biggest Posture Mistakes

A structural problem requires a structural solution. The problem is, most gym trainers and exercise classes that claim to correct your posture, use only a functional approach. A functional approach works really well for someone who has very good body symmetry. In other words your left and right sides are mirror images of each other and there are no obvious imbalances. Functional exercise programs work well as general rehabilitation for those with good body symmetry but not for the 10% of you who fail to see results, time and time again!

You may go along to a Pilates class where everyone is given the same functional exercises. You may go to see a personal trainer, and you’d be given functional exercises for weak core muscles or maybe to build overall strength, but again these exercises are generic. These generic exercises have nothing to do with the structure of your spine, and won’t help the 10% of you who have structural issues.



When you receive a tailored structural exercise program to correct your posture, you will likely receive a program of exercises – many of which, you have never seen. These mirror-image-exercises are designed to fit the altered shapes and asymmetry in your body – when the left side does not match the right side and your spinal curves have been altered.

A structural approach uses mathematics and physics to interpret your posture. Few practitioners and very few trainers and teachers are trained, qualified or even interested in using a structural approach because it takes much longer to train and should involve years of university-level-study in radiology.

For those of you who have tried many different approaches and still look in the mirror and see unattractive posture, consider you may have a structural posture problem. Once you receive a structural diagnosis, you can begin a tailored exercise program and it is then, and only then, that you are likely to be rewarded with real results – upright, attractive, youthful posture for life!

Can Losing Weight Improve My Posture | Posture Doctor

Swayback posture develops when the abdominal weight overpowers the weak stabilizing muscles in the lower back. Slouchback posture follows, when the weight of a heavy chest rounds us forward.

“It’s true, the scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love. Don’t give the scale more power than it has earned. Get off the scale and live your life. You are beautiful!” Steve Maraboli

Health Risks


Being overweight is associated with so many different health risks that include – diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, metabolic syndrome, cancer, degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease and sleeping and reproductive issues. Carrying excess body weight can also lead to poor posture.

Swayback posture develops when the abdominal weight overpowers the weak stabilizing muscles in the lower back. Slouchback posture follows, when the weight of a heavy chest rounds us forward. This rounding, slouched posture can lead to forward head, fatty neck hump, worn spinal discs and osteoarthritis.

It’s understandable that those who are overweight have real concerns about their posture, and wish to address these concerns with specific posture exercises. I have found that overweight posture pupils struggle to get the most out of their posture exercises and find it frustrating, when they fail to see significant change.

Most posture exercise programs involve movements that put gentle, but compressive loads on the joints – joints that are already under pressure due to excess body weight. It’s crucial that the weight comes down before putting more stress and strain onto the knees, hips, and spinal discs and joints.



For many posture pupils this will be a disappointing truth, but if the goal is to correct your posture and get results that can be maintained over time, I have found this approach, to be the best way forward.

If you put all efforts into improving nutritional lifestyle and take on an easy win, like fast-paced daily walking, (off piste – avoid pavement and get onto the grass, which is kind on joints and makes the heart work harder) you will bring down your weight faster. Once your weight is within 25 pounds of your ideal, your body will be ready to begin a tailored posture correction program and one that you can easily maintain, until you get real results – flexible, upright, confident posture that lasts a lifetime!

3 Essential Elements of a Healthy Lifestyle | Posture Doctor

Poor physical health may lead to pain (physical effect), depression (emotional effect), lost productivity (career effect) and eventual bankruptcy (financial effect) for 62.1% of Americans.

A US Study in The American Journal of Medicine found that 62.1% of all US bankruptcies are caused by medical illness.

With statistics like that, we can no longer rely on the simplicity of one cause, one effect – in other words, poor physical health (cause) may lead to pain (physical effect), depression (emotional effect), lost productivity (career effect) and eventual bankruptcy (financial effect) for 62.1% of Americans.

Well-being


In Tom Rath’s rather interesting book, Well-being, he points out that well-being isn’t only about being happy, wealthy or successful. He cautions those of us who are quick to buy programs to get rich or lose weight or sort out our love lives, because when these single-focus programs fail, we may wonder what went wrong.

Posture


When it comes to correcting our posture, we need a similar approach. If we are to truly apply the best formula for fixing our posture, we need an approach that addresses more than just our physical well-being. Although our physical lifestyles contribute largely to our body postures, it’s essential to address all elements of a healthy lifestyle, if we are to get real results and results that last.

Three essential elements of a healthy lifestyle


When I work with my posture pupils, I start with a very long eligibility questionnaire designed to identify areas that need more attention, as well as pointing out areas of strengths. I often find certain elements lacking in those pupils not satisfied with their health results to date; those who have been working at fixing their posture for a long time, with little or no results. I like to breakdown these healthy lifestyle elements into three essentials:

  1. Physical lifestyle
  2. Chemical lifestyle
  3. Emotion lifestyle

Physical Lifestyle


When most people think about their posture they focus on how they sit or stand, what chair or pillow they should buy, or the latest fitness fad to solve all their problems in less than a month. That’s certainly not the very best approach! The second biggest posture mistake, is forgetting your lifestyle! Physical lifestyle is very important, but it’s not everything.

The most effective way to address the physical causes of poor posture, is to make daily posture exercise a habit. When you create a healthy posture habit for life, you hard wire it into the brain, until it no longer feels like a chore. You would no more miss your daily Posturecise, than you would miss breakfast, having a shower or brushing your teeth. Creating a habit takes time; there is no quick fix, but if you do a little and often (ideally, every day) it’s a habit you can learn to love!



Chemical Lifestyle


Where do you live? By the sea or in a busy city? What kinds of things do you put on your skin? What kind of chemicals do you clean your house with? How much coffee or soda do you drink? How many pills do you pop? The chemistry of your body affects the workings of your body. Did you know that a highly acidic diet (meats, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, soda, wheat, sweeteners, juice) cause calcium to be leached from bone? This leaves your bony skeleton vulnerable as you age. Your chemical lifestyle may be just as important as your physical lifestyle when it comes to fixing your posture.

Emotional Lifestyle


Were you shy as a child? Did you develop shy posture? Do you not want to stand out – are you embarrassed by your posture? What kind of support network do you have? Do you live in a stressful environment? Do you have a supportive partner? Do you yell, or do you keep everything bottled up inside? Emotions matter and they matter a lot!

Amy Cuddy (Ted Talks) explains that just two minutes of power posing (think Wonder Woman) can boost testosterone levels. Increased levels of testosterone have been shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol and to have a direct correlation with our levels of success in life. Suddenly we have a lot more reason to get our emotions in check!

If you are tired of getting just average results when trying to correct your posture, maybe it is time to rethink your lifestyle. Good posture requires that you give attention to each of the three essential elements of a healthy lifestyle.

What one thing could you do today, to make a change in one of these areas of your life? Feel free to share what you’re taking on, in the comments section below.

Is It Too Late To Improve My Posture?

By the time many of us are 25, a process called sarcopenia will have already begun. Sarcopenia is the degenerative change of skeletal muscle mass and strength. The ideal age to begin our posture correction is when we are still growing.

Possibly the biggest mistake many of you will make when trying to correct your posture is leaving it too late – so don’t.

“Can it really be corrected? I am 31 and just realizing in the last year how bad it is from sitting at a computer for long hours … I feel like I look like one of those drawings of the evolution of man!! Ugh. I need to fix this but how long, realistically, would this take considering how long it likely took to get like this?”

Staring too late, is just one of the 7 Biggest Mistakes People Make Correcting Posture. How late is too late? By the time many of us are 25, a process called sarcopenia will have already begun. Sarcopenia is the degenerative change of skeletal muscle mass and strength. The ideal age to begin our posture correction is when we are still growing. But pain is the worlds biggest motivator – no pain, no problem right? Wrong!



By the time we have aches and pains, spinal stiffness, lost confidence and an unattractive body image, many of us will already have degenerative changes. If we begin to develop a healthy Posturecise habit before the signs and symptoms begin in later life, we have a much better chance of improving our long-term health outcomes and are more likely to get the kind of results that other people notice!

How long will it take to fix your posture? I’ll leave that detailed answer for another post, but be sure of this: The longer you leave it, the longer it will take to correct!

Start now – start today!