As kids, it seemed like someone was always telling us to stand or sit up straight, and we really should have listened! Our posture has a huge impact on how we feel, look, and move.
Studies are showing that people with better posture really are healthier and do live longer.
Good posture influences the way you see yourself and how others see you.
Not convinced? The next time you’re out with people your own age notice how they carry themselves. Is their appearance diminished or enhanced by how they sit or stand? Do they move confidently, or with slight hesitation and difficulty?
Our heads weigh between 10 and 11 pounds and when we slouch, we round our spines forcing our neck muscles to carry that weight. When we slouch, we collapse our lungs and core muscles, inhibiting our breathing and creating a rounded stomach. We look older; heavier. We might even be on the path to developing or worsening a “widow’s hump”.
This bad posture extends to sitting too. Think about how uncomfortable (painful, even) it feels to stand after sitting hunched over with your legs underneath watching TV, or to straighten up after leaning towards the computer screen to see better for hours.
From mild to chronic aches and pains, shortness of breath, headaches, digestion issues and joint stiffness, the effects of poor posture are far-reaching.
One of the most noticeable consequences of poor posture is its effect on balance, because good posture requires balance, and vice-versa.
Here’s a fact: We actually start losing balance as early as our twenties. And, like our posture, many of us neglect our ability to balance until we reach a breaking point — often literally, in the case of balance. According to the CDC, one in four people over the age of 55 visit the emergency room each year as the result of a fall, suffering sprains, fractures, dislocations, and even traumatic brain injury or death.
The good news: posture and balance go hand-in-hand, improve one and you’ll automatically improve the other.
Think about how you stand and sit.
When you stand, do your feet point outwards like a ballet dancer; is your weight shifted over one hip? In sitting, do you cross your legs, arch your lower back or hunch over? Is your pelvis supporting your upper body which is upright and aligned with your bottom half? Take a mental snapshot and compare with these key points:
If this isn’t your usual posture, it’s time to get to work!
When you correct lifelong bad posture habits — and, by extension, balance — you should feel less aches and pains, breathe better, move with greater ease and agility and if that’s not reason enough; you’ll look thinner and younger!
The first step towards good posture is awareness; start noticing how you’re sitting and standing on a daily basis.
The second step is to work on the movements that are responsible for improving alignment. Remember, many of the exercises you do to stay fit work only specific muscles. This isolated movement can lead to injuries or strengthening one side of the body more than the other. This in turn can cause an alignment problem which is one of the biggest contributors to bad posture.
Integrated Movement Routines (IMRs), on the other hand:
Like eating an anti-inflammatory diet to protect your immune system, learning new skills to keep you passionate and engaged, and ongoing dental care to keep you confident and smiling; good posture can help you not only feel and look younger, but grow older more actively as well.
Ready to stand up straight?
Sign up for our FREE 30-day trial and start with the 21-day course: First Steps to Physical Freedom. You’ll be amazed at the difference good posture makes in how you both look and feel. In fact, with only 15 minutes a day you’ll notice you are standing taller, sitting straighter and moving with greater confidence. Go to TheOptimal.me and sign up to begin your journey to bolder and better today.
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