“Keep your chin up,” “sit up straight” or “stop slouching.” I’m sure everyone has heard at least one of these at some point in their life. The teacher or our parents would constantly be reminding us how we need to have “good posture.” And of course as kids do, we would roll our eyes, correct things until they were not looking, and then back to hunched over we go. All those years of nagging that we brushed off, as it was just another chore to do. Little did we know, that all this nagging was actually key to our well-being and a healthy body.
What makes having good posture so important? What is good posture? Posture is where your body holds you upright against that pesky gravity that is always present and pulling us down. Now without that gravity, we would be off floating in space, so we cant take that variable out of the equation. So keeping our body alignment in check, is the next best thing we can do (or move to a smaller planet🙊). Having that proper alignment will limit the amount of force that is put on our joints, ligaments and muscles. The stress may always be present, but how we distribute it is key.
Did you know, that posture has a huge part in almost any way our body moves? While personal training, it was one of the key components that we looked for when receiving a client. Just how someone stands, squats, pulls, and performs a plank, can tell a lot about their problem areas and what needs to be addressed. Posture directly effects how we walk, run, jump, balance, our flexibility, and of course most important, how we lift weights. Proper positioning of the spine also assists in how our internal organs function. If you are hunched over compressing them, they can not work as efficient as if they were opened up and free to move.
Can you remember the last time you were at the doctors? What does he tell you right before he puts that FREEZING cold stethoscope on you? “Sit up nice and tall,” followed by “now take a big deep breath” coincidence? Not at all, having a straight upper body gives your lungs the space they need to fully expand. Being hunched over restricts the size of breath you are able to take. This can limit the amount of oxygen we can take in. Which may I remind you, for our body to work at it’s full potential, it needs as much oxygen as possible.
Here’s a good enough reason on it’s own to have good posture. When you sit up nice and tall your body’s internals are all sitting as they were intended to. When you are hunching over you are putting force on all that. For your intestines to push waste through, the pathway which has less restriction is going to be the better option. But guess what? The faster that waste is out, the more weight you lose! #winning
Proper alignment eases the wear on all your joints and ligaments. Having all the weight in a straight line is much easier for your body to deal with. Think of holding a 10lb dumbell, anyone can hold it down by their side while standing. Hold it straight in front of you and that changes everything. With that example in mind, think of a person hunched over and how much more force is applied to their knees because of it.
The last one is a big one, but not really a physical benefit of good posture. It helps improve your mood and confidence. You are open and upright to the world, feeling happy and positive about everything. It portrays confidence and that you are open to the world, or ready to take over the world. Think of all the confident people you know and look at the way they stand.
Being aware of your posture is the first big step to fixing it. It’s one of those things that you have to be pretty aware of, at ALL times. Whether you are sitting or standing it doesn’t really matter, you should keep the spine straight as possible and your shoulders rolled back. Besides just looking better you will start to feel better, by boosting your confidence and having your body work optimally.
How is your posture? Do you keep it in mind at all times or do you find yourself slouching? I know I have to catch myself at all times, making sure I am not hunched over.