Guest post by Dr. Hilary Taglio, D.C.
Why Should You Improve Your Posture?
Have you ever wondered why someone who is perceived as being weak is referred to as “spineless,” and another who is perceived as proud or confident is said to “have a backbone?”
How we carry ourselves when we stand, sit and walk, have far reaching implications on our hormones, mood, happiness and the impression we make on others, so we should keep a watchful eye on our posture and body language so it doesn’t bring us down without us realizing.
Our posture has more to do with our minds and physiology than we realize. Posture can alter one’s power (or psychological experience of it).
Recent discoveries suggest that power is grounded in the body.
Not only does power alter our bodies, but changing our posture alters our power. In other words, when we alter our posture and body language, our confidence, thinking and decision-making is subconsciously influenced.
Researcher Amy Cuddy showed that through expansive, high-power poses (postures that take up a lot of space, for instance, standing tall with head held high and hands on hips), people who feel chronically powerless may become more confident and in control, which in turn could lead to improvement of general health and well-being¹.
Her findings show that changing our body language doesn’t just change our outcomes, it changes who we are as people. Her advice is: fake it until you become it.
Benefits of Fixing Your Posture
Cuddy’s research reveals that expressing more powerful poses through expansive postures (i.e. spreading out your limbs and opening up your body), helps us get better jobs, makes us feel better and makes us overall more successful.
Fascinating things happen when adopting “power postures”:
- When we sit up straight, we are more likely to remember positive memories or think of something positive in general.
- Sitting up straight, holding ourselves tall with head held high can significantly increase energy levels, confidence and good mood; as opposed to a slow, slumped, wilted walk, which can drain us of our energy and increase depression².
- Posture changes our hormones: standing tall literally makes you more powerful (increases testosterone and decreases cortisol).
- We increase our physical strength.
Take advantage of these postural benefits to live a healthier and happier life!
How to Improve Your Posture
The first step is awareness.
Bring your attention to your posture as you sit, stand or lie down:
- If you're sitting, keep both feet on the floor or a footrest, don't cross your legs and use low-back support.
- While standing, keep your knees slightly bent, relax your arms and pull your shoulders back.
- When lying down it's critical to choose the right mattress and pillow, and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
- Improve your posture with good form and a balanced spine with Chiropractic, which will maintain correct alignment of bones and joints, reduce stress on ligaments and abnormal joint wear, minimize your risk of injury, prevent muscle strain, overuse and pain, and will conserve energy as muscles are used more efficiently.
- If you work at a desk - sitting and standing with good posture is very important. Get up and move around in a good, upright, expansive posture, at least twice an hour. Consider getting a standing workstation - when we stand as opposed to sit, we burn 20% more calories and strengthen our muscles, boost metabolism and increase bone density.
- Hold a power posture for just two minutes a day, to observe a positive hormone change, which will have a huge effect on how you can control how you feel and has the potential to improve your destiny (according to Amy Cuddy)!
- Strengthen your mid-back and core muscles: lift the bottom of your ribcage an inch or two off your hipbone, pulling your shoulder blades back and down.
Try this exercise: pin a ribbon to the top and bottom of your shirt and keep it taut for 10 minutes at a time.
Chiropractic can help maintain and correct your posture through chiropractic adjustments, postural/spinal strengthening exercises and recommendations on proper positions during different activities.
Unsure if you have good posture? Schedule an appointment for a spinal examination at our office. Consultations are always complimentary.
1. Cuddy, Amy J.C., Caroline A. Wilmuth, and Dana R. Carney. "The Benefit of Power Posing Before a High-Stakes Social Evaluation." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-027, September 2012.
2. Erik Peper, PhD,1 and I-Mei Lin, PhD2. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA; Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan. Biofeedback OìAssociation for Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback Volume 40, Issue 3, pp. 125–130 www.aapb.org DOI: 10.5298/1081-5937-40.3.01
As a wife and mother of two active little boys, Dr. Taglio understands that life is busy and can easily get out of balance. She knows how important healthy habits are in maintaining a healthy family. She is committed to addressing the whole body and takes a multi-pronged approach to improving the function of the nervous system, by removing nerve interference through chiropractic, addressing nutritional components and incorporating neuromuscular re-education to maintain spinal health and stability. She has made it her mission to help people not only feel great, but also help them reach their highest potential, in whatever their endeavors are. She has a love for children and their healing through chiropractic and nutrition.
The opinions expressed here represent those of the author. California Family Fitness will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Always consult your physician before beginning any nutrition or exercise program.