I clearly remember the first time I decided to improve my posture. It was in 1974. My pal and I were sitting in her bedsit drinking cheap wine and discussing things about ourselves that we didn’t like – proving that worrying about the impression you make is not a new preoccupation for folk in their 20s. Right at the top of the self improvement goals I set myself that night was to stand up straighter and keep my shoulders back – but I didn’t do it.
Over the intervening 45 years I renewed my resolve to improve my posture many times and tried a range of things such as yoga and Alexander Technique, as well as joining gyms every few years and seeking advice from a physiotherapist. Although I enjoyed exercise, running regularly and dancing at every opportunity, I could never get the hang of a gym. I was ill at ease with the equipment, didn’t know what to do to achieve the results I wanted, and always felt out of place. Meantime, a largely sedentary job, with no shortage of stress that I stored in my neck and shoulders, was steadily making my posture worse.
Eventually I arrived in my mid-60s, still with rounded shoulders and an increasingly slouchy back, so I made a new and final resolution. This one was a bit different from all the previous resolutions because I decided I was either going to fix my posture within a year or accept that it was just not going to happen and never mention it again!
Around this time I noticed that my son’s posture was markedly better than it had been and he was clear that this was one of several positive results of the fitness training he was doing at DMC. He was very encouraging of me giving DMC a try but I was really quite reluctant. I had a long history of just not enjoying being in a gym and took a lot of persuading to go along for an initial session. I eventually went only because I did not have a better plan, or any plan at all actually, and was already eating into the time I had before “never talking about my posture again” kicked in.
Six months on I look forward to going to the gym every week and I’m making really encouraging progress. It took me 60 years to ruin my posture so I didn’t expect to fix it quickly, but I can already see and feel quite remarkable improvement. A couple of things have been key to why DMC is working for me when other things haven’t. First of all, I was really clear about what I wanted to achieve and I felt right from the word go that I was properly listened to, my target was taken seriously, and the work I do with Pablo is focussed on that. The second thing is having Pablo there as a friendly encouraging intermediary between me and the equipment so it doesn’t feel like the alien place that gyms have been for me in the past. I’m also not very good at committing to something if I’m not confident I’m doing it right so his guidance makes a huge impact on the effort I put in. I feel genuinely supported and it makes all the difference.
Although my main goal is quite specific, I’ve been surprised, and very pleased, to notice some more general benefits to my strength, stamina and flexibility. I can lift more when I’m working in the garden and can carry heavy luggage up stairs – which might not be the most glamorous outcomes but feel good to be able to do nonetheless!
Back in 1974, my pal and I also decided we were going to learn 3 new words from the dictionary every day. I haven’t disheartened myself by calculating how many words I’d know by now if we’d stuck to that – I’m just enjoying the belated feeling of achievement that comes from finally standing up straighter and keeping my shoulders back!