I know, posturific isn’t a word. The angry, red squiggly line screaming at me from underneath the title as I type this is doing its best to inform me. This is me not caring, squiggly line… this is me NOT CARING!
Anyways, yes.. about posture.
I have long-sought an answer to the question of why my knees sometimes hurt when I jog. Over the years, a myriad of possibilities (often overlapping one another) have presented themselves as potential culprits: stride length, pace, horrible luck, footwear, scoliosis complication, one leg being longer than the other, various muscles being too strong/weak. It’s this last one that I had been reading up on lately when I fell into a new possibility: posture. It started by my comparing different views from different resources, from those espousing stronger gluteal muscles to those who suggest the fault is in overly-strong quads or tight hip flexors, and then I came across a term and subject of which I was already familiar but hadn’t done much with in the past: APT — Anterior Pelvic Tilt.
APT is not a new concept to me, but this was the first time that I really took a look at it as if it might seriously relate to my own body. After just a quick examination, it was pretty evident that I’m yet another victim of the condition. What is APT? Well, it’s all right there in the name; the pelvis tilts forward. You can check it out for yourself in the basic diagram below:
Now, the cause of this isn’t necessarily singular. My butt muscles could be weak in some ways, my core not strong enough, and it could even be that my forward-pulling head has forced my pelvis to compensate (though that one is a chicken-and-the-egg scenario, as I’m unsure which caused which). Either way, I set about trying to remedy the situation, as while my posture isn’t necessarily evidentially bad to the layman, I was now quite aware of it. What’s more, it may very well be the limiting factor in my ability to run well! That’s how I even fell into this rabbit hole of physical well-being discovery; an article I read discussed the issue of runner’s knee being related to poor posture-muscle usage. I tried running with my pelvis tucked a little more down in back, mainly by holding my abs tighter, and by golly it felt like I was doing this “running” thing for the first time. It felt so unique! Not necessarily brilliantly better or painfully worse, but very unique. My knees didn’t get sore, but my legs sure burned in new ways. Not only did I try jogging in a fresh way, but I’ve also really been focusing on my daily-living posture… trying to hold my core from the front, walking and standing with my butt muscles tightened, holding my shoulders back and down, and definitely trying to pull my head back. It ain’t easy, kids! Posture is mostly just habit, though, so I’m making a concentrated effort to maintain new ways and do what I can to help rectify my past slouchings. I am doing my best to consistently remind myself to be aware of this posture correction when driving, sitting at work, and even when laying in bed.
This has had an impact on my workout efforts, as well. I have put a lot more focus on my backside muscles — the posterior chain, as you may hear it called by fitness folks. I’m spending extra energy on exercising my butt, my hamstrings, and my back, along with a reinvigorated call to attention on my core strength. Granted, I had already put these muscles at a slight priority, but I have doubled my efforts… increasing the volume for these muscle-groups while letting the front-end muscles see a little less activity. I discovered a great way to focus on the back of my shoulders, too, which had previously been pretty much ignored in my movements, so this whole endeavor has really been a bold new adventure.
Time will tell as to whether or not any of these posture-related factors make an ultimate impact on my knee problems when running (my fingers are certainly crossed), but even if they don’t… I’ll be really glad to start standing not only a little bit taller, but a whole lot better! And if you see me in person with my back swayed and my head pulling my neck forward, you have my permission to gently smack my arm and tell me to straighten up ;). I said GENTLY!
Check yourself out, too, and see how YOU fair in the posture department. And if I need to give you a gentle smack on the arm, just let me know; I’m happy to help :).