Pectoral range-of-motion exercise (self-fascia release)
1.) Place one hand in the center of your chest pressing into the breast bone.
2.) With the other arm straight in front, open the arm to stretch the pec while at the same time the opposite hand pulls the skin on the breast bone away from the moving arm.
3.) Hold for one second and reset to the starting position.
4.) Repeat up to six times on each side.
POSTURE – WHY SOMETHING SO RIGHT FEELS SO WRONG!
We all know that good posture is, well…good! Especially in running, correct posture decreases unwanted pressure through your back and neck, aligns your body so breathing is more efficient and helps negate a lot of chronic injuries and pain by promoting muscle balance throughout your body.
Why then, does “correct” posture feel so awkward and uncomfortable?
Simply put, we live in front of our bodies – from typing on the computer, to driving, from texting, to washing dishes, our actions are generally executed forward from our core. This promotes a hunched over position with frontward rounded shoulders and a forward head poke. You know which posture I’m talking about! In the clinic, we call this upper cross syndrome.
The main tissue changes that happen with this posture:
- Your back muscles and connective tissues become chronically lengthened & strained = weak
- Your front muscles and connective tissues become chronically shortened & stuck = weak
So now when you go to straighten up during your run, your back posture muscles are not only at a structural disadvantage, but they’re also fighting gravity, plus all those locked and short front muscles! I would be cranky and tense too if I had to work as hard as those poor postural muscles do!
Helping your body learn better posture:
- Create a habit – every time you check your phone or watch, sit-up or stand-up slightly straighter. Over time, this habit change will start creeping into your running. Don’t force it into your running!
- If you lift weights, try two back (pulling) exercises for every front (pushing) exercise.
We’re already forward, so now you’re just evening out the playing field for your posture muscles!
- Spend time doing range-of-motion exercises, stretches or physical therapy to help lengthen and unstick those short, locked front muscles. Some ideas are: heart-opening yoga, pec massage work and pec stretching, or anything where you are promoting extension through the back and opening through the chest and neck.
Now your back is not fighting your front!
Your body uses less energy to hold you upright, it has greater room to breathe, and allows for more efficient movement of your limbs not only in running but in daily activity! Better posture in running also creates an environment where injury is less likely, and that is something we can all stand-up for!
- Nikki Smith CAT(C), BSc