Throughout history, humans have had to struggle with many challenges that we cannot always control. Nowadays, there are a growing number of people who want to conquer these challenges for themselves through technological advancement and more traditional means like exercise. However, some believe that simply being healthy isn’t enough and not being mindful can be dangerous in the long run.
Good posture is important for your health. Good posture helps to maintain a healthy spine, prevent injury, and improve your mood. Read more in detail here: what is the importance of good posture.
Take a look inside almost every workplace in the United States. What do you think you see? Workers sat at their laptops, leaning down. Take a look at your fellow metro riders. What is their seating arrangement? They were hunched over their phones. Take a look around at your friends and loved ones. What is their standing and walking style? Probably a bit hunched over.
The contemporary world has seen a rise in sitting as a result of industrialization. And, thanks to current technology, we can now handle and see gadgets while stooped over. Now, unfortunately, these achievements are devolving our species; part of what makes us human is our capacity to walk erect, and yet we are crawling about where we formerly stood tall.
I’ve spent the past several months studying the advantages and mechanics of excellent posture, as well as how to obtain it in an age of schlumpliness, in order to get us humans going ahead again towards what Winston Churchill termed “the vast sunlit uplands” of a bright and upright future.
I’m going to share what I’ve learnt with you today. I don’t believe you’ll find a more comprehensive or straightforward tutorial on posture elsewhere on the internet, so sit up straight and read on, friends.
The Advantages of Proper Posture
Improves the alignment of the body. All of your organs can work effectively when you stand and sit with your body appropriately oriented. This includes your stomach, which is why maintaining excellent posture may help with digestion.
Back and neck ache are no longer an issue. Your bones and spine can easily and effectively balance and sustain your body’s weight when you have good posture. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments must continually struggle to sustain the same weight when you have poor posture. Back and neck discomfort, as well as tension headaches, may result from this additional, wasteful effort. Focusing on correcting your posture may help to alleviate these issues.
Breathing becomes easier. Your lungs need space to expand in your chest in order to function properly. Your rib cage compresses a little while you’re hunched over, allowing less area for your lungs to expand, resulting in ineffective breathing.
Improves learning and memory. According to recent studies, there is a link between excellent posture and memory retention while learning new things. Why? It’s thought that since proper posture helps your breathing, you’ll be able to take in more oxygen, which will increase your cognition. (Fun fact: your brain consumes around 25% of the oxygen in your body.)
It gives you a leaner and taller appearance. Your belly protrudes in certain bad posture postures, giving you a “beer belly” appearance. Slumping makes you look shorter than you really are. These problems will be corrected and your look will improve if you stand up straight.
It gives you a confident and strong appearance. People consider us as having great prestige while we are standing erect. There are many causes for this:
First, as we established in our series on the nature of status, people utilize height and physique as embodied status indicators to judge one another. Taller, fitter-looking men are not only seen more beautiful by the opposite sex, but they also earn more during their lifetime than shorter and overweight men, according to research. While you can’t change God’s height, you can make the most of what you have by standing up straight and maintaining correct posture.
Second, an open, erect attitude is seen as more authoritative and commanding. Even animals exhibit this behavior. When chimpanzees or dogs are in a subservient mood, they will lower their heads and shrink in size. On the other side, dominant creatures stand tall and take up more space. An upright stance is referred described as a “power pose” since it communicates confidence and status to other people.
Finally, proper posture gives you a more trustworthy appearance. There’s a reason people who are moral and devoted to their ideals are described as “upright” and “standing tall.” Those who droop seem to be carrying a load – possibly the weight of their flaws and deceptions. As a result, men who stand straight are seen as open and honest.
It gives you a sense of self-assurance and authority. There’s a reason armies have spent more than a century focusing on posture training for their troops. They’ve noticed that standing tall enhances military bearing and morale, and now contemporary studies are beginning to back up their intuition.
Studies have been published that demonstrate the importance of the mind-body link, notably how physical posture and body language impact our mental and emotional well-being. Researchers have discovered that having excellent posture not only helps you seem strong to others, but it also makes you feel powerful.
What is the main cause behind this? Testosterone.
In her book Presence, social psychologist Amy Cuddy cites research that shows how taking “power postures” — such as standing with excellent, upright posture – boosts testosterone and lowers cortisol levels in the body. Within minutes, adopting a power stance results in a 16 percent boost in testosterone and an 11 percent drop in cortisol. People feel less worried and more confident when their T levels rise and their stress chemicals fall. Individuals were more forceful, proactive, and comfortable taking chances after adopting a power pose or just standing with strong, upright posture, according to her and her study team.
Start concentrating on your posture if you’re having trouble with inactivity and motivation. It’s not a magic pill, and it won’t transform you into a self-assured and forceful He-Man overnight. But it can help, and it’s so simple to implement that there’s no excuse not to give it a go.
Improves mental performance and focus. Male students with the best sitting posture scored considerably better on examinations than students who slouched, according to a research conducted by Colorado College.
The higher testosterone and lowered cortisol levels stated earlier are most likely to blame for the improved focus and mental performance. “An upright posture helps individuals feel authoritative and accomplished, which increases their capacity to relax and concentrate on difficulties,” Dr. Tomi Ann Roberts, the study’s principal author, concluded.
Enhances one’s mood. Standing and sitting with excellent posture might not only make you feel more confident and strong, but it can also make you happier. When respondents were asked to recollect experiences when slouched or slumped, they were more likely to recall sad or depressing situations, according to one research. People who were standing erect, on the other hand, were more likely to remember joyful and good recollections. If you’re a male who suffers from the black dog, keep your posture in check to give yourself a leg up on your depression.
The Myths of Proper Posture
As a result, having excellent posture has several advantages. But, exactly, what does proper posture entail?
When most people think about proper posture, they generally think of two fallacies that we need dispel before moving on:
Myth #1: Good posture should be stiff and difficult to achieve. When most people think of “excellent posture,” they think of a soldier standing at attention, chest puffed out, back and shoulders tight, pulled back, and strained. This, however, is poor posture (and, according to popular belief, is not how genuine soldiers are trained to stand). Your muscles and tendons have to work extra hard to maintain this unnatural posture in this fictitious army stance. If you’ve been hurting after a day of practicing proper posture, it’s likely because you spent that time attempting to get into this position.
Good posture should make you feel at ease and calm. Your bones, not your muscles, maintain your body straight and balanced when you have proper posture. You shouldn’t feel stiff or strained even when you’re sitting and standing straighter than normal.
If you’ve spent a lot of your time sitting and drooping, getting into a decent posture position won’t come easily at first. It’s unlikely that you’ll feel strained, although you could feel tight. Read and use the advice in the latter half of this article to relieve the tightness.
Myth #2: There is one perfect posture that everyone should strive towards. Contrary to common assumption, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to proper posture. Because everyone’s physique is different, excellent posture for one guy may not appear the same as it does for another. With that stated, whether we’re sitting or standing, there are a few indications we can all utilize to discover our perfect posture.
How to Maintain Proper Posture
The ultimate objective of posture is to have a “neutral spine.” Three natural curves may be found in a neutral spine: a tiny hollow at the base of the neck, a slight roundness in the middle back, and a small hollow in the lower back. We’ll teach you what to concentrate on in order to achieve a neutral spine when standing or sitting. We begin by providing a thorough explanation of what to do and why, followed by a “crib sheet” of postural “cues” to monitor during the day.
When standing, maintain good posture.
The ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should all be aligned in one straight line to establish proper standing posture. Imagine a plumb line extending from your earlobe to give you an idea of what proper posture looks like. The line should hang straight to the center of your anklebone if you have good posture.
Getting the shoulders to line up where they should be is a huge problem for persons trying to achieve a neutral spine. The shoulders of most people with terrible posture round forward, giving them the Quasimodo image. Here’s a fast test to see whether you’re rounding your shoulders forward:
Place your hands at your sides and hang them down. You have rounded shoulders if the backs of your hands face forward. Your shoulders should be positioned for healthy posture if your thumbs face front.
Most people make mistakes with shoulder alignment and posture because they overcompensate by pushing their shoulders back and bringing their shoulder blades together to compensate for forward shoulder rounding. Maintaining this posture requires tenseing and contracting of your back and shoulder muscles. When you have excellent posture, your muscles should have to work as little as possible to maintain it.
If you’re having trouble visualizing ideal posture and shifting your body to match it, try this wall exercise:
Face a wall with your head, shoulders, and back, and your heels approximately 5-6 inches forward. Reduce the arch in your lower back by drawing in the lower abdominal muscles. This is how it feels to have proper posture. Now push away from the wall and attempt to keep your alignment upright and vertical.
Suggestions for Maintaining Proper Posture While Standing
- While standing, weight should be equally distributed on both feet. If you can quickly lose your balance by being pushed at the sternum, your bodyweight isn’t equally distributed in your feet.
- Your ear hole, point of shoulder, hips, and ankles should all line up vertically on top of each other when seen from the side.
- The chin should be perpendicular to the floor.
- When looking at oneself from the front, your left and right shoulder blades, as well as your left and right hipbones, should be equally aligned.
When sitting, maintain a good posture.
The single most harmful thing to our posture is sitting incorrectly. Instead of relying on our backbone to sustain our weight, we rely on our seats. Unfortunately, we tend to stoop and slouch as a result of this. When you combine that with hunching over your laptop or computer to get closer to the screen, you’ve got a recipe for bad posture.
Because it’s more difficult to maintain proper posture when sitting than while standing, the first step to reducing the negative consequences of sitting is to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. Every 30 to 45 minutes, stand up and stretch your muscles. Take a walk around the office and stretch, or perform the desk jockey exercise. Use a standing workstation if your workplace permits it, but bear in mind that standing all day is probably just as unhealthy as sitting all day. Moderately use a standing desk, alternating sitting and standing during the day.
When you do sit, make sure your ears and shoulders are aligned. This will go a long way toward preventing shoulder drooping, which is common while working at a desk. Again, there’s no need to pull your shoulders backwards, and you shouldn’t feel compelled to tighten up in order to keep them in place; just line them with your ears and maintain them relaxed. If you’re having trouble doing so, a clever little technique I discovered on Breaking Muscle is to acquire an inexpensive inflatable travel pillow and wear it around your neck while you work. When you start moving your head forward and shoulders up, the cushion will push against your ears, prompting you to return your head and shoulders to a neutral spine position.
Another thing to keep in mind when sitting is that your feet should be level on the floor, and your knees and hips should be bent 90 degrees. While typing or resting on the armrests of your chair, your elbows should also be bent at 90 degrees. Adjust your chair so your knees, hips, and elbows are all bent properly.
Suggestions for Good Sitting Posture
- Your earlobes are higher than the tops of your shoulders.
- Shoulders are back (don’t droop forward! ), but they’re pleasant and loose.
- Knees, hips, and elbows are all bent 90 degrees with feet level on the floor.
- Stand up and move around often throughout the day.
Don’t Fall Into the Smartphone Trap
We released an essay a few weeks ago on why and how to break the smartphone habit. If better attention and personal interaction weren’t enough of a reason to put down your phone, consider this: your smartphone is ruining your posture. The stance we take when staring at our phones – stooped over with our hands/phones down at our belly — has been dubbed “Smartphone Slump” by mobility and posture specialists.
The typical adult human head weighs about 11 pounds, which is roughly the same as a light bowling ball. Your head should line up on top of your spinal column when you have appropriate posture. Your head’s weight is equal to the force you need to retain it in this neutral posture.
However, when you raise your head forward, the effort required to maintain it up increases. That bowling ball of a skull of yours feels like 27 pounds with only a 15-degree lean forward. It rises to 40 pounds at 30 degrees. When you tilt your head forward 45 degrees, your upper body is subjected to over 50 pounds of strain.
When you tilt your head down, instead of your bones performing all of the effort to keep your head upright, your muscles must contract to assist you. The trapezius muscles, which run down the length of your neck and on top of your shoulders, are the starting point (this is why your neck gets sore whenever you look down at your phone a lot). Your chest sinks and your shoulders slide forward a little when your traps compress like this, giving you a hunchback.
Not only does the Smartphone Slump do havoc on your muscles, but some cognitive psychologists believe it may be contributing to the Western world’s rising prevalence of depression. Slouched postures, as previously said, might make us feel melancholy and unhappy. The Smartphone Slump is a slouched, subservient stance that may cause depression (the fact that you’re slumped over while going through your Instagram feed and feeling the pressure of FOMO definitely doesn’t help either.)
It’s simple to overcome Smartphone Slump. Simply avoid looking down at your phone and instead raise it to eye level. Yes, you’ll seem silly and like you’re always shooting selfies, but it’ll keep your enormous bowling ball of a head balanced on top of your spine and relax your back, shoulders, and neck muscles.
Corrective Exercises to Help You Recover From Years of Poor Posture
Simply concentrating on and being aware of proper posture may go a long way toward improving your posture. However, if you’ve spent years standing and sitting in slouched and slumped postures, your shoulders, traps, and chest muscles are likely to be quite tense. And that tension will make it difficult for you to maintain a comfortable, neutral spine posture throughout the day.
But there is reason to be optimistic! With time and work, you can loosen up these slouching muscles, making it simpler to maintain proper posture. Here’s how to do it:
Perform the Quasimodo De-Quasimodo Routine. We offered a full mobility program last year with the goal of minimizing slouching. The routine was dubbed “De-Quasimodo Yourself.” It focuses on developing chest, shoulder, and upper back flexibility. It’s a habit you’ll have to stick to on a regular basis. You can’t simply do it once and expect to see benefits right away. However, it will make it much easier for you to acquire proper posture.
Place yourself against a wall. If you’re having trouble keeping your posture throughout the day, try the above wall exercise for a few minutes at a time. Maintaining that posture might help loosen up the muscles in your chest and shoulders significantly.
Back to a static state. This one is fantastic. Lie down on the floor with your legs propped up on a bed, chair, or ottoman. You should bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Bring your hips as near as possible to the chair (or whatever you’re using to rest your legs on). Place your arms at your sides on the ground. Simply lay in this position for 5 to 10 minutes.
This position aligns your shoulders with your hips and helps to relax the muscles in your lower back (which are typically tense as a result of poor posture). It also aids in the stretching of your thoracic muscles.
This is a static wall. The static back stretch has been intensified in this exercise. Rather of resting your legs on the bed, you’ll prop them up against a wall. Lie down on the floor with a wall in front of you to complete this stretch. Bring your legs up the wall and slide your buttocks as near as possible to the wall. You should dress as though you’re sitting against a wall. Extend your arms to the side. For 5 minutes, stay in this posture. The stretch will be the same as with the static back, but it will be more severe.
Standing straight and erect and appreciating your full human potential is within your grasp – all it takes is a little forethought and persistent effort. Friends, stand up and move on!
Good posture is important because it has 8 benefits. The “8 benefits of good posture” are:
• It prevents back pain and other muscle issues.
• It improves your mood.
• It helps you focus.
• It makes you more productive at work.
• It makes you look better in pictures.
• It’s easier to exercise with good posture.
• You’ll have less risk of injuries, including car accidents and falls.
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