It's Shane from MATRIX Personalized Fitness. In today's video, you're going to learn about your old brain, your new brain, and how both of them can play a big role in your posture.
I was working with one of my clients the other day, and she turned to me and asked, is there anything that we can do to help prevent me from getting that hunchback posture that I see happening to so many of my friends? And I said, absolutely, there is! But it may not be what you think.
Now, many of us when we think about creating better posture, we think about standing taller, squeezing our back muscles, and consciously working our musculature to help create that shape. And it is possible that could work. But for many of us, it doesn't work. As soon as we stop thinking about posture, we revert right back to where we were. To understand why this happens, there's some things that you need to know about the body in general, and then about your brain.
The first thing you need to know is that form follows function. What that means, is that the more time I spend doing things, the more my body's actual shape and form is going to adapt to make those things easier. Examples of this are a soldier standing tall, holding their posture, year after year after year, when they're at attention. They eventually adapt into this posture and it becomes so second nature that is hard for them to move out of it.
A different example is myself. I play ice hockey. I'm a right shot. So when I play hockey, I'm in this position all the time. And you can notice, as a consequence, my right shoulders a little bit lower and my head tells back to the side to help me better in that sport. Even if it's not perfect for the posture that I want walking around all day long.
So, now let's step into the brain itself. We have two different parts to our brain that we call the old brain. The old brain is our brainstem and our cerebellum, and some other subconscious parts of the brain. And what it is most geared toward is survival. It wants to keep us safe. It's in charge of things like our respiration, our heart rate, and our blood pressure. Those things that we don't consciously want to think about. Another one of those things that it is in charge of, is posture. We don't always want to be thinking about it and that's why it lives in the old brain.
Then there's the new brain, that's our performance brain. That's the brain that lets us think. That's our conscious brain. And that's the brain that lets us do all the cool stuff that we do. No matter what that is in your life. Now, the new brain is the one that allows me to play hockey, and the soldiers to stand erect. So it can have an impact on your posture based on form following function. But let's go back to the old brain, the subconscious one, the one that's really in charge.
So over the course of our life, we're constantly adapting to the things that are going on. And we have lots of stresses that are constantly being added to us. So those stresses can be external, they can be the environment, your relationships, your work, your finances. But they can also be internal; different injuries that we've had before, sensation that we've lost, our vision getting a little bit worse, and our sense of balance becoming a little bit more off. All of these things play into our ability to survive. And so, as those things continually add up over time, our survival brain gets more and more worried about actual survival. So it decides to protect us. And the way it does that is by taking us more and more and more towards the fetal position. Adjusting the tone of our muscles through the PMRF in the brainstem and the cerebellum, so that we are in a more protected shape. And this is something that we're not going to undo just by thinking about it. Because, as soon as we stop thinking about it, we're going to go back into protection.
Now the question is, what can I do about it? And there's a lot of different things that are really too complicated to go into in detail in this video. However, what you can definitely do to help release the new brain is try to reduce some of the stress in your life. You can try things like breathing exercises or meditation to help you relax. And the other thing that you can do is move! The more movement that you do, the more you're going to train and stimulate the cerebellum so that it's functioning a little bit better. That's going to help you adjust your posture positively. Also, more movement in general and getting better at moving makes us feel safer. When we have an injury and we're hurt, we don't move well in the world. When we're moving easily, everything is better for us and more accessible. And so, some of that stress is taken away.
In summary, our new brain controlling our posture consciously can work, but it doesn't always. Our old brain inevitably is in control. And as we get more and more stressed out and the more life beats on us, the more we start to move into the fetal position. To undo this, the best thing you can do is relax, breathe, reduce stress, and move.
But if you're feeling like you need some more help, feel free to come into the studio. There's different assessments that we can do to find out really what parts of the brain need more attention, and we can give you the specific drills to do that.
So I hope you've enjoyed this video. Please if you have questions and comments post them below. Reach out to us by phone or email. We would love to hear from you.