Hats and body posture

Have you ever been told to stand up straight enough that your back is flat and your head is above your shoulders? Well, I have heard those lines multiple times from many well-intentioned people. Despite my efforts to have the ideal and healthy posture, there are times when I catch myself standing or sitting in the oddest way.

Today I realized that sun hats can surprisingly helpful in this regard.

Another piece of familial advice I frequently hear is, “Wear a hat when you are outside!” I know that it protects my skin from sun damage, but I have never really liked hearing this line for numerous reasons.

  • The hat flies off if it is too loose and I am moving too fast or it is too windy. (Same problem with baseball caps.)
  • I get oily hat hair thanks to the sweat that appears right where the hat meets my forehead.
  • It can be troublesome to carry it around when I am inside.
  • I take it off, set it on a table or chair, and then forget it when I leave.
  • etc. etc.

But, this summer I tried really hard to wear a sun hat every time I stepped outside. The reason being that I have begun to notice signs of aging in my parents, aunts, and uncles. It’s sad to see it, but growing older is proof that we are mortal. Where are those researchers studying jellyfish regeneration?! Until they can recreate that ability, I will get startled every time I see an elder with a new liver spot or uneven skin tone ….. with the exception of my grandmother.

Even though she is the second oldest person in the family, my grandmother has one of the most blemish-free faces among the older generation. At a family gathering, there was some joking about how she looks younger than some of her kids, before skin care techniques were exchanged around the table. I learned that wearing a hat is the one consistent thing she has done throughout her life. Well, if that isn’t motivation, then I don’t what is. I grabbed the biggest sun hat I had and hung right over my shoes.

So, here I am near the end of summer with an almost automatic reflex to grab a hat as I head out the door. I had just finished my afternoon walk of playing Pokemon Go and stepped into the restroom to wash my sweaty face. As I approached the sink, I glanced sideways at the mirror dreading the red face I was about to see. Instead, I noticed my ear was almost above my shoulder. Stopping, I continued to look through the corner of my eyes and saw that my shoulder blades were straighter and my head was held at an even level, the chin was not tilted too high or low.

In an effort to keep my hat from falling off, I could not lean my head too far to the side or too far up. I also couldn’t tilt my head down too far otherwise the brim would cover part of my vision. Over time, somehow my body shifted to match my balanced head and I am standing straighter than I was when summer started. How funny! I was trying to do one thing, but amazingly accomplished two goals.

Now if only I could straighten myself when I sit. Maybe I should start balancing stuff on my head when I am indoors….

To you who discovered this post, do you try to have good posture? How do you do it?


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