Most of us, myself included want to look better, feel better, and be healthier. Well, this post is about getting after the low hanging fruit, well just one thing, but it is a big thing …..POSTURE. What’s even more great about this FIX is you can work on it throughout the day by becoming conscious of our daily movement and sitting patterns.
Did you know that poor posture could cause many problems;
Depression – A study from the University of San Francisco has shed some light on how walking with a slouched, despondent body posture can lead to feelings of depression or decreased energy. Research has found that altering body posture to a more upright position improves mood and energy levels.
Muscle pain and Fatigue- When you have poor posture your muscles have to work harder to hold you upright. Energy is wasted when you move, leaving you feeling tired and without the extra energy, you need to feel good.
Achy Muscles and muscle pain especially from the Neck, shoulders, back, and legs could possibly be a product of poor posture. 80% of neck and back pain is caused by tight achy muscles brought about by years of poor posture.
Working on fixing your posture now can help reduce or prevent Osteoarthritis in the future. So start working now on limiting pain now and in your future.
Stress – A study from Columbia University and Harvard University argues that stress is increased by bad posture. The study showed that people who chose more powerful postures, open shoulders, and straight spines had a 20% increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol level. Those who slouched had a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol. What do all of these changes in hormones mean? High stress.
When you sit slouched over, it affects your breathing. Shallow chest breathing strains your lungs, which then requires your lungs to move faster to ensure adequate oxygen flow. This taxes the heart—it is forced to speed up to provide enough blood for oxygen transport. The result is a vicious cycle where stress prompts shallow breathing and in turn, creates more stress on the body.
Confidence – Not only does posture affect how you feel it also affects your confidence. When carrying ourselves in a non-expansive manner ie. limbs touching our body, shoulders slouched and head down makes us seem unhappy, non-powerful and unapproachable. On the flip side walking and sitting with good posture shoulders back head tall makes us feel and look more powerful and confident. 60% of communication comes from Body Language so as you can see your posture has a lot to do with how you are perceived and how you feel about yourself.
So how do we fix posture? The biggest hurdle in fixing posture is getting away from your default positions and being diligent in your quest for better body positions and shapes. Here are a few things you can do to fix your posture.
Core training. Performing core exercises in a slow and controlled manner will help strengthen your postural muscles and over time become more voluntary meaning as they strengthen, your posture should get better due to the natural position these muscles rest in. ( keep your eyes open for a link to a video tutorial containing 5 great core exercises)
When standing, place your body weight on the balls of your feet or midfoot. Your arms should hang straight to your sides and chin should be slightly tucked and of course, stand straight and tall with your shoulders upright.
When sitting be sure to keep your back straight and firm against your office chair. Try not to lean forward or slouch. Set your chair height so your knees are the same height as your hips or slightly higher and your feet should be flat on the ground. An easy cue for this one, just imagine someone pouring a glass of ice cold water down your back……. I am pretty sure you just sat up taller… haha I did!
I hope this has helped you understand the importance of posture and how it can be hindering or helping you to reach your health and fitness goals.
If you have any questions about posture? or how our programs get seated warriors into strong and powerful positions please feel free to contact us! Our goal is to ensure every individual is accessing all that life has to offer via their healthy bodies and minds
Coach Brennan Taylor.