Do You Have Caveman Posture?

Cavemen have been getting a lot of attention lately.  The Paleo diet is a SUPER hot topic.  Meat eaters are squaring off against vegans, carb crazies and traditional wisdom (which isn’t so wise)…and I have found myself smack dab in the middle of it all.

Now, I’ll be honest.  I didn’t plan this.  About 3 years ago, I was “tricked” into doing a 21-day sugar fast.  I like to try new things and at the time “Fat Jerry” was hanging out with me a lot, so the combination of the two made me an easy last minute YES when I was asked if I wanted to join a group starting a sugar fast.

Headaches and puke…

Thankfully, I made it through the 21 days unscathed.  But I can’t say that I was overly confident that that was going to be the end result after the first couple days.  Turns out, I was pretty addicted to sugar.  Which makes a lot of sense considering at the time I was drinking Mountain Dew like I had stock in the company.  So when I cut out the sugar, my body went into shock.  I spent the first 3 days with a MASSIVE headache and the feeling that someone had sucked the life out of me.  I felt like Superman after someone had given him a big ol’ piece of kryptonite to carry in his pocket.  It wasn’t good.  At my lowest point, the headache was so bad, I had a rather violent and spontaneous puking session in the kitchen sink before heading off to work.  Yeah…I know…GROSS…I was there.

I survived…

But that isn’t the end of the story.  After someone apparently took the kryptonite out of my pocket and my body decided to come back online…I started feeling really good.  I mean REALLY good.  My energy level was up.  I was sleeping like a baby (I’m not sure why people say that…I have had 3 babies…I know better) and I was losing fat/leaning out.  One of the craziest things also was that I wasn’t bloated anymore.  I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW I WAS BLOATED!!!

Overall the experience was great and I learned how much my body doesn’t like sugar and processed carbs.  Ever since then, I have been very conscious of that.  Now no one would consider my diet a Paleo diet…but I definitely lean that way and could see myself diving all the way in at some point in the future…maybe soon.

Talking with a caveman…

So I said all that to say this.  In a recent episode of the HNi Podcast, I had a great conversation with Tony Federico (LiveCaveMan.com) about the caveman lifestyle and all the good things we can learn from a simpler time.  But it got me thinking.  Can every aspect of a time gone by be better than it is today?  Historically as we grow as humans, each generation learns and applies that knowledge.  In theory, this makes the each generation better than the one before.  But since most of us have found ourselves eating fake foods and living a chaotic, high-stress life, many people are finding health and inspiration in a simpler time.  Which explains the obsession with Paleo.

But there is another aspect of the caveman life, that less desirable.  It’s actually the one aspect of the caveman that most modern people unknowingly adopt and it is the one aspect of the caveman that should DEFINITELY be left in the PAST.  What am I talking about?  I’m talking about Caveman Posture.

Thinking about a caveman…

Just think about it.  If you close your eyes and imagine a caveman, what do you see?  What is he standing like?  Most of us will come up with a very similar image.  A hairy, half-naked man with his head leaning forward of his rounded shoulders, upper back is excessively curved, the back of the hands are facing forward, arms hanging low and an overall slouched posture.  Sound about right?  Well let me ask you this…have you ever seen how someone looks sitting at their computer?  Have you ever seen how YOU look sitting at your computer?  If you take away the chair and desk…yep…there it is…Caveman Posture!

Our 21st Century life has us leaning forward.  Most of us are unknowingly adopting the posture of a caveman and this Caveman Posture is reeking havoc on our bodies.  70% of the population suffers from neck pain.  More than 80% suffer from back pain.  Arthritic changes, disc degeneration, muscle tightness, trigger points, “normal” aches and pain, and even herniated discs are all either caused by or made worse by poor posture.  And I don’t normally like to mention it…but Caveman Posture also makes you look FAT and OLD!

Let’s fix Caveman Posture!

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Just like you unknowingly taught your body this Caveman Posture, you can knowingly teach your body how to be more upright and balanced.  This will help get back to the upright, healthy, pain-free posture that we had as a civilization, not that long ago before there were cars, desks jobs, typewriters, computers and all the other things that have accidentally force this Caveman Posture upon us.  So in order to move forward, we do have to go back, but not nearly as far as some might think.  Not that long ago, healthy, pain-free posture was the norm and back and neck pain was not.  Let’s go back to that.