How to Look 15 Pounds Thinner

Correcting Common Posture Problems for Looks and Performance

Walking
JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty

Do you want to look 15 pounds thinner? Do you want to walk more fluidly and eliminate lower back pain? Do you want to improve speed? Then you need to do some wall work.

Coach Martin Rudow showed walkers at the Annual NW Regional Racewalk Retreat how developing the right posture can work wonders for walkers of any speed.

Sitting at computers, watching TV or standing in line can all contribute to bad posture habits, which in turn can lead to or worsen low back pain, shoulder pain and neck pain.

6 Common Walking Posture Problems

  • Lordosis: Back curved excessively in an S shape - rear sticking out, shoulders too far back, head and stomach thrust forward. For women, wearing high heels contributes to this posture. Some S shape is needed, but too much strains the lower back.
  • Hip-sitting: Walking with your weight carried too far back, strutting with your torso leaning back and overstriding in front.  When walking you look like the "Keep on Truckin'" guy.
  • Forward lean: In the past, walking coaches advised a slight forward lean when walking. This was meant to cure the hip-sitting posture. But this often resulted in people leaning too much forward.
  • Hunching your shoulders: When sitting and working at a desk or computer, most people tend to draw their shoulders forward, so that their chest muscles don't get expanded. Over time this becomes a habit you have to consciously overcome when walking.
  • Neck tightening: Many people carry stress by tightening their neck and upper shoulders, leading to knots and pain.

There are cures for these, and a wall near you can help!

Wall Exercise to Look 15 Pounds Thinner

The good news is that walkers can eliminate bad posture with a simple exercise and with attention to what good walking posture feels like. Perform this three times a day, it can be done anywhere there is a wall.

  • Stand next to a wall with your heels touching the wall and knees straight.
  • Make buttocks touch the wall.
  • Make shoulders touch the wall - do not flatten them fully against the wall, but square them and have them touch the wall at one level.
  • Make the back of your head, with chin level, touch the wall.
  • Hold this posture for a minute.
  • Raise your hand and tuck it between the wall and the small of your back. If there is lots of space it shows that you have lordosis (too much S-curve). You want to work on reducing that by flexing you lower abdominal muscles to draw the small of your back closer to the wall.
  • Now step away from the wall and try to maintain this posture while walking around.
  • Repeat this three times a day. This is the posture you should try to develop for walking.

Another way to check this posture is to think of a string attached at the top of your head drawing you upright. Straighten up your body as if you are hanging from that string.

To work on reducing the space at the small of the back, get a foam ball, such as a Nerf ball, and place it there to squeeze back against.

Look Like a Winner

The long, upright body this exercise gives you will make you look pounds thinner, more confident, and develop the right body mechanics for relieving lower back pain and walking easier. I can't promise it will lead to promotions, compliments on your appearance, and walking medals, but it is worth a try to look and feel great.

Next: Loosen Your Shoulders

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