The Power of Proper Posture

The Power of Proper Posture
A lot of us sit or stand for long periods of time and this can cause some serious issues with our health and happiness. Part of what aggravates the situation is that over time we develop poor posture habits and this takes its toll on your body. Poor posture, can in fact, lead to cascading structural problems in your body and result in back and joint pain, limited flexibility, and compromised muscle strength.

Over time you can develop a forward, rounded posture. This will restrict the expansion of your rib cage as you breathe. When this happens your diaphragm compresses leading to decreased lung capacity. This makes breathing very awkward. Even if you work standing up for long periods of time you can experience the same problems.

Some Common Posture Mistakes
You can sabotage proper posture in a variety of ways:
  • Hunching over your keyboard.
  • Constantly looking down at your phone.
  • Cradling the phone between your ear and shoulder.
  • Sitting or standing at a desk for too long.

There are many factors in your daily life that can erode proper posture. If you go for a long time without changing the position of your body, you can stress your body’s tissue, throw it out of alignment and have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing.

If you are interested in deeper research about the impact of posture on your life, here are a couple of links to additional resources.

Ohio State University
Study on how body posture affects your confidence.

The Chiropractic Resource Organization
The link between proper posture and your health.

What Happens When We Develop Proper Posture?

You might say that its obvious, but sitting and standing up straight literally makes you feel better. With proper posture you not only feel better physically but also mentally and emotionally.

Amy Cuddy is an Associate Professor at Harvard University, and in her famous Ted Talks presentation she shared her incredible insights about proper posture and how it actually changes our hormone levels.

Other Great Benefits of Proper Posture
  1. Better breathing: Good posture allows our diaphragm to function properly allowing us to breath optimally. This is one of the reasons that exercise like yoga and Pilates focus on proper posture.
  2. Better concentration: With proper posture you breath better, which means your brain receives more oxygen. This allows your brain to do a better job at thinking and concentrating.
  3. Better self-image: In Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talks she revealed that ‘standing tall’ actually improves how you view yourself.
  4. Better health: Poor posture can increase the risks of a slipped disc, chronic back pain, poor blood circulation and much more. A proper posture helps to avoid these complications.
How to Have Proper Poster

Proper posture is an easy and important way to maintain your health. Here are some recommendations for correcting your posture whether you sit or stand for long periods at a time.

Correct sitting position
  • Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back.
  • Your ears should be aligned over your shoulders.
  • Evenly distribute your body weight on both hips.
  • Ensure your chair is adjusted so that you can bend your knees at right angles.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart.
Additional tips for those who sit

Even if you use perfect posture you need to switch your positions about every 20 minutes. Try taking a standing break and stretch. Here are a couple of great stretches:

Neck stretch: gently lower your left ear down towards your left shoulder. Hold for 10-15 deep breaths. Now do this for your right side. Repeat a couple of time for each side.
Neck rotation: slowly turn your chin towards one shoulder. Hold for 10-15 deep breaths. Now do this in the opposite direction. Repeat a couple of times for each direction.

Correct standing posture
  • Keep your shoulders back and squarely aligned to each other.
  • Your ears should be aligned over your shoulders.
  • Use your stomach to keep your body straighter. Tip: pull our belly button towards your spine.
  • Wear shoes with good support and try standing on an anti fatigue mat to reduce the stress on your joints.

Additional tips for those who stand
Even with the best posture you need to change things up, so go for a walk on your break.

Make the most of your walk: stand tall, shoulders back, chin up and take long strides. As you walk remember to be aware of your breathing and try to take nice deep breaths and fully exhale.

Improving your posture can have so many benefits to your overall health and wellbeing. Take a moment to review how you are sitting and standing and then using these simple tips start practicing proper posture when you’re sitting and standing.