Remember when your mother told you to “stand up straight” or warned “don’t slouch”? Well, as usual, your mother was right.
How our posture looks today is a result of years of our daily living activities. We spent a large part of our lives looking down. We sit down and look at our computer screens. We look down when we are playing with our smart phones. We walk with our hands in our front pockets. We look down when reading our books and newspapers.
Sound like you?
Other than annoying our mothers, what exactly does poor posture do? There are some serious side effects for those with poor posture.
First, it can worsen our stress levels. A study form Harvard University concluded that people who adopted proper posture had a 25% drop in their cortisol (stress hormone) levels. High cortisol levels have been associated strongly with weight gain and your sleepless nights.
Second, bad posture can block your digestive system. Hunched shoulders can lead to sluggish digestion according to Steven Weiniger, author of Stand Taller, Live Longer. “When you sit in a crunched position, your intestines are folded and that slows everything down.”
Third, poor posture can affect your attitude says Dr. Mladen Golubic, Center for Lifestyle Medicine at The Cleveland Clinic. “We do know when you slouch, you project an attitude of depression and low motivation. When you sit up straight, psychologically your attitude is better.”
Standing up straight will help with your weight, your health and your attitude. Do you need help? Plug these two exercises into your daily routine and enjoy the benefits of better posture.
1. Lying down chin tuck: Lie on your back with nothing behind your head. Tuck your chin towards your chest without your head leaving the ground. Hold that position for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
2. Outward rotations- Stand up tall with your arms by your side. Bend your elbows 90 degrees, with your palms facing inward. Keeping your upper arm against your side, slowly rotate your forearm away from you, only using your shoulders for the whole movement. You will end up with your elbows still on your sides, but your hands now out to the side of your body.
Return to the starting position and do 2 sets and 10-15 repetitions.
Fixing a poor posture will not happen overnight. This has happened over a long period of time. However, being more aware of your posture, focusing on your body movements from head to toe and using the exercises above will go a long way towards improving your posture.