Unlocking the Benefits of Good Posture
Quick – pause and evaluate how you’re sitting. Chances are you’re slumped in your seat. Unfortunately, bad posture is an easy habit to maintain, since it’s simple to disengage your muscles while sitting, standing, or walking, which then allows your spine to become curved. Good posture does take some work, because you must engage your core muscles and make a conscious effort to keep your back in a neutral position, but the benefits of good posture are well worth the effort. Once you adjust to maintaining better posture, it will become second nature, and you’ll begin to see some changes in your overall health and mood that can pay off for years to come.
Do you tend to slouch when you sit down or curve your shoulders as you walk? If so, you are probably not breathing as deeply as you could be. A bend in your upper back can significantly inhibit your breathing, meaning you actually limit your oxygen intake with poor posture. Therefore, optimizing your breathing with better posture can help you to reduce soreness by supplying more oxygen to the muscle tissue. Plus, deep breathing can help calm your nervous system, allowing you to relax and de-stress more efficiently.
Increased Focus and Productivity
If your office has invested in standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and other solutions to encourage better posture at work, your employer is likely savvy of the benefits that good posture can have in terms of productivity. When you are seated (or standing) with good posture, your brain recognizes that you are in a position of focus and power. As a result, your brain actually increases testosterone production, which in turn boosts your efficiency in tasks requiring a high level of cognitive interaction. Plus, good posture can provide an energy boost when you start to feel afternoon fatigue set in. So – if you are beginning to feel sleepy at work – try getting up to stretch and then sitting back down with your head facing straight ahead and your shoulders moved back, but relaxed. This position helps support your lower back by reducing stress on your lower body with a more neutral spine.
When you feel good, you might stand up a little taller and radiate confidence. Alternatively, you might fake it until you make it by maintaining great posture even when you are not feeling your most confident. By taking on a position that reflects power and dominance, you can change your attitude and feel good more often. As an added benefit, your confident posture will actually be helpful in attracting members of the opposite sex.
So go forth, and stand (or sit) up a little straighter!