7 Beginners Tips for Better Posture and Body Alignment - Small Changes that Make a Big Difference in Foot and Back Health! Part 1 of 2

Such good info!  Pain-free feet and back, here we come!  7 Beginners Tips for a Healthier Back and Feet - Ideas, Tricks, Stretches and Resources to Improve Posture and Alignment - via Devastate Boredom

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional!  I am sharing my own experiences only.  All bodies are different, so be sure to consult your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

Earlier this week I shared a kind of crazy story with y'all... the fact that I have had MUCH less foot pain lately, and apparently have gone up a shoe size, all since starting to improve my posture and alignment. Today I'm sharing Part 1 of my favorite 7 tips and tricks -- some from the book Whole Body Barefoot, which started me on this journey, and some from other fantastic resources I've found along the way.   

However, this is not supposed to take the place of you doing your own reading!  As I said in my original review, I highly recommend reading Whole Body Barefoot if you are the owner of a pair of feet... but especially if you consistently have foot or back pain, if you are interested in improving your posture and alignment in general, or if you're just curious to better understanding the way the "biomechanics" of your body work.  

7 Beginner's Tips for Better Posture and Foot / Body Alignment - Part 1:

1.  Stretch your feet and legs every day, multiple times a day.

I purchased this inexpensive half dome foam roller thingy, that I've set in front of the sink in my bathroom. I stretch my calves each morning and evening while I brush my teeth, put my contacts in, etc.  I also try to remember to pause and stretch my calves when I'm out walking my dogs, using the side of a hill or a curb to press my heels down further than I could on level ground.

2.  Stretch your toes.  

If you are already stretching your toes on a regular basis, good on you!  I sure wasn't.  You can achieve a mild stretch your toes by holding your foot in your hand (probably better do this one after a shower... ;P) and interlacing your fingers between your toes.  If you want a stronger stretch, or want your hands free while you stretch, you can buy toe-socks (not the cutesy kind -- this kind) or a gel toe separator.  You can buy a fancy one called YogaToes for $30, or a cheap-o version for $3, or a mid-line version for about $12.  I bought the mid-version based on reviews, and it works fine.  In fact, it works better than fine -- while there's one obvious way you're supposed to wear it, you can squish the segments of the separator together to wear it different ways and change up your stretch.  Lately I've been wearing it so that I can wedge the two largest segments between my pinkie toe and the next toe over, and I can really feel a nice stretch in those tiny (but oh-so-important) toe muscles.

3.  Walk on varied terrain as much as possible.

While walking is always amazing exercise, try not to always be walking on paved surfaces.  Go hiking, or walk in the grass next to the pavement even.  Walk (carefully) on the side of a hill in a wide circle, so that your ankles have to fully stretch to stay in contact with the ground.  The more you can move your ankle joint in 3-dimensional ways, the more healthy and flexible that joint (/ muscles / ligaments) will be. 

4.  When standing still, work on standing with your feet parallel and even.  Test yourself -- without looking down, put your feet "together" at hip width.  Now check... are your feet actually together, with heels and toes even, or is one foot forward?  Are your toes pointing out?  You want to work on standing with your feet together, parallel with the toes forward, and your weight centered over your heels.  

I say "work on it" because it definitely didn't come easy to me -- when standing still I tend to lean on something, stand with my weight on one foot and the other "posed" out at an angle, etc.  This is hard on your joints, and tends to make the muscles on one half of your body tighter than the others, so start training yourself to actually stand UP when you're standing still.

Okay, that's a good start for now!  I have revealed the exciting weirdness of my shape-shifting feet, and shared four of the top tips I think have helped me along in my alignment journey thus far.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of the list in a few days!  (Update - you can find that here!)  And let me know if you have any questions -- I'm still learning myself, but I'll try to point you in the right direction if I can.

Now, start stretching!  ;)

Finally!  New information and ideas for preventing pain and improving posture.  Life Shouldnt Hurt - Easy first steps on a journey towards better posture and alignment - tips, tricks, stretches and resources - via Devastate Boredom

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  1. I hear yoga in your advice. Or forms of yoga. I concur that you're on to something here.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  2. I've got a pinched nerve in my neck that is causing all sorts of trouble, and my dr told me to work on my posture. As much as I long to be the young woman who curls up with a good book, I'm now the older woman who is learning to sit up straight! Posture matters more than we know!

  3. Love these ideas. I get so cramped sitting at my desk all day!

  4. Oh man did I need this post. My neck was hurting for over a week! Stretch toes that's fun to learn.

  5. I have never heard of those toe thingies. Very cool. My posture has always been bad. I need to start working on this. Thanks for the tips!

  6. I swear by the foam roller. Because I work out so much, it is an absolute must for me!

  7. Some really good tips here. I didn't think about walking on different terrains. If I have the choice I walk on firm terrains (less chance of me falling over!) but I shall have to mix it up a bit.

    Sally @ Life Loving

  8. I've got to try these things out, my posture is terrible!

  9. This is really helpful. I slack heavily on posture. I really try to think about it, but fail most of the time. Same with stretching - I really need to start again! Thank you for your thoughts :) Good advice!

  10. I read some other posture book recently and it's really made me stop and pay attention to how I'm standing - it's crazy how we're really usually standing mainly on one leg!

  11. Hmmm, toe stretches?? Never would have thought of it!
    Walking is an exercise for me, just getting to the mailbox! But at least now I'm off the walker! Thank you Lord!!
    I'm awful with posture. Thanks for the tips!

  12. I am going to have to read this book for my husband and I. He especially is complaining about foot pain. Thanks for sharing on the Country Fair Blog party this month.


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