Do you have memories of being constantly told to ‘stand up straight’ as a child? Well, there’s a good reason for it: not only can good posture support you to avoid injury and pain
in the future, but according to Forbes, it can actually help you improve your career
and your mood as well. If you’re wondering what changes you could make to improve the way you sit, stand and lie, then read on for some great ideas to help you identify where to make changes, and the benefits you’ll see when you do.
What is posture?
Posture refers to the way you position and align your body in relation to gravity – the force exerted on joints, ligaments and muscles will alter based on how you stand, sit or lie down. Good posture means making sure you distribute your body weight effectively, ensuring that no one part of your whole system ends up overstressed. This is the case for moving around as well as being static – staying aligned as you bend or squat to carry out activities is just as important as when you’re standing still.
Think about your body as if it was a building – without proper construction and care, a building will start to crumble, crack and eventually collapse. Poor posture can cause uneven wear on joints, cause muscles to stretch or strain, and eventually lead to chronic pain conditions and the inability to carry out everyday tasks. If you sit or stand tall, with even shoulders, hips and knees; and a neutral spine and neck with no arching or flexing, your chin parallel to the floor, then you’ll probably notice the difference quite quickly. It may feel difficult to maintain or be uncomfortable at first, but if you keep it up, you’ll find that pain levels decrease, and sitting, standing and moving feel far more comfortable.
Undertaking strengthening exercises will support you to make effective lasting changes to your posture, and improve your physical health at the same time. A strong core is really important
if you want to avoid slumping, and regular stretches to strengthen the muscles in your neck will aid you in holding your head high, reducing levels of stress on your cervical spine and helping you to avoid injury. Proactively exercising before you are in pain is simple and easy, and exercising the neck muscles
takes only a few minutes a day: chin tucks, side-to-side neck tilts, and neck stretches can be easily be done while you work or walk about.
The mental aspect
Good posture doesn’t just affect your physical form: it can also have significant impact on your mood and wellbeing. Time Magazine notes that standing or sitting tall
can help you appear and feel more confident, powerful and energetic, and this feeling lasts as long as you maintain your position – you’ll often notice as soon as you start to slump, your mood follows the same course. Without a balanced body it’s hard to achieve a balanced mind, and others will perceive you differently based on what your body language is telling them.
With posture affecting everything from pain, discomfort and debilitating conditions to mood, energy levels and cognitive performance, it’s clear that working on the way you walk, stand and sit can have far reaching benefits for your everyday life. Taking the time to assess the positions you’re relaxing, working and running around in –and the ways you could improve upon them – can have far reaching benefits for your physical health, mental health, social life and career.