Posts tagged ‘posture’

December 9, 2019

Essentrics Are Essential, Especially with RA

It started with a trip to the library. While perusing the DVDs I came across the Essentrics Pain-Relief Workouts : Standing, Floor and Barre Workouts. I loved how at ease I felt while doing the exercises. The best part was that I felt much more limber after doing a workout almost-first-thing in the morning. (By the way, you do not need a barre – a chair serves as your barre.)

What I love about these exercises is that they are gentle. Miranda Esmonde-White, who retired from the National Ballet Company of Canada, knows her stuff. If her routines are good enough for the Montreal Canadiens and Cirque de Soleil, they are good enough for me! (No, you don’t need to be a high performance athlete to benefit or to take part.)

In the beginner DVDs, Miranda cautions you to respect your body. If it hurts, don’t push into the pain. Instead, go back to the point where you don’t feel pain, thereby allowing your brain to send the message to your body that it is safe to move to that point. Do what you can, while respecting your limitations, which will more than likely change for the better over time. You’re encouraged to relax while you do lazy, circular movements, reminiscent of T’ai Chi, that help to lengthen and strengthen your muscles.

As a person living with rheumatoid arthritis, you know that range of motion exercises are vital, especially if you wish to maintain the mobility that you do have. Your often-neglected hands and feet aren’t forgotten in Essentrics. A full-body workout in 20 to 30 minutes. Isn’t that worthy of your time? As always, check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program.

I have also checked out Classical Stretch – Age Reversing Workouts for Beginners – Mobility and Bone Strengthening, Aging Backwards – Connective Tissue Workouts, Essentrics – The Ultimate Stretch Workouts, Essentrics – Strength and Stretch in Motion, Essentrics – Toning for Beginners – Standing, Floor and Barre, Essentrics – Full Body Toning – Standing and Floor, Essentrics Body Sculpting Series – Volume 1 and Essentrics Body Sculpting Series – Volume 2. (I found the latter two DVDs, which are led by Sahra, Miranda’s daughter, more challenging to do in the morning. They were much easier to do in the afternoon.)

The library also had Aging Backwards – 10 Years Younger, 10 Years Lighter, 30 Minutes a Day. This book is a wonderful “User’s Manual,” that introduces you to your muscles, ligaments and joints. You’ll learn about the difference in strengthening your muscles concentrically (by shortening them as in weight-lifting), and essentrically, (strengthening by lengthening, as in Essentrics). Aging myths, fitness and disease prevention, injury recovery and exercises are also included in the book.


Apart from the cost of the DVDs, which I’d class as $$, you don’t need expensive gear. Maybe an exercise mat if you have hardwood floors, a sturdy chair and an exercise band. For the exercise band you can use a towel, or braid your old pantyhose if you’d prefer something stretchy. (I remember doing that in the 80s when I did those Jane Fonda exercise videos. Do you remember VCR tapes?)

My feet tend to slip on the carpet, so I put socks on that have a rubberized non-slip sole:

Do Better When You Know Better

In my 20s and 30s, I taught fitness classes. If only I knew then what I know now, bolstered with the information I gleaned from Miranda. It is what it is, so by applying the principles I’ve learned from Miranda in her Essentrics program, I can do better in order to live better.

Perhaps if I were 10-15 years younger, I’d consider beoming an instructor. Similar to my Auntie Stress hat, I suspect that I would become my own best client. That’s how much I believe in the Essentrics system.

The movements I’ve learned and practiced in the livingroom accompany me as I go about my day. I am more mindful of how I walk and stand (something that is covered in the How To section of Classical Stretch Posture and Pain Relief DVD). I have even incorporated some of the movements into my pool exercises.

No, I am not being compensated for this review! Darn! 😉 I’m sharing this information with you so that you can take back the reins of your life and giddy-on-up to feeling and doing better!


March 31, 2012

Seat Matters – Behind the Wheel

When it came time to replace our vehicle, one of the many deciding factors had to do with the ability to position the driver’s seat.

For many years, I was a loyal fan of a particular make of car. I liked that this reliable, well-designed, fuel-efficient brand held its value. Today, that is still true. However, there is one thing that prevented me from making this my current car of choice. It’s the seat position, or rather the lack of a particular seat position.

I want to be able to adjust my seat so that I sit up straight, pretty much at ninety degrees, to avoid the detrimental anterior head forward position.

As you can see by my illustration, your head may be forced into the anterior head forward position. If you’re in the car for any length of time, this can create problems for you.

March 29, 2012

Carefully Choose Your Chair

Be sure to practise good ergonomics when you sit down to work or play at the computer.

Here are some things to consider:

  • find a chair that provides you with good support
  • you may wish to consider the fabric – some are more breathable than others
  • sit up comfortably straight
  • note how your head is positioned in relation to your neck and shoulders
  • consider using a footstool
  • adjust your computer screen
  • be patient – it may take you several attempts at repositioning until you feel like Goldilocks – just right!

Do you have any computer/posture tips to share?

March 1, 2012

Head Hanging Like a Hat on a Hook

Are you sitting at your desk reading this? How is your posture? Are you slumped, slouched or slanted?

What about your head? Since it was impossible to call up Leonardo’s spirit to assist me in drawing, you’ll have to make do with my attempts to portray the not-so-nice anterior head forward position. (Read below for things you can do to prevent/correct this.)


  1. Develop awareness about how you are sitting.
  2. Remember that reinforcing this posture can lead to pain and degeneration.
  3. Strengthen your core so that you can sit straighter for longer.
  4. Use Ctrl +++ to enlarge the print on your screen.
  5. Get up from your computer on a regular basis.
  6. While you are realigning your seating position, you may as well work on your breathing.
  7. If your head has been hanging like a hat on a hook, be patient with yourself as you cultivate your new habit.

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