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Let’s Get One Thing Straight: Your Posture

Want to look younger, slimmer and more confident?

Wish to feel better?

Want to keep your body functioning at peak efficiency?

Well, of course you do! And you could accomplish all these with good posture. Surprising, isn’t it!

The benefits of good posture seem to be among the best kept secrets of health and fitness, even though it ranks way up there with a healthful diet, exercise and rest. Without good posture, your fitness training is incomplete. So here’s the big question…

Why is Posture Important?

Good posture aligns your body in such a way as to distribute stress optimally though the intended muscles and ligaments. This allows your muscles to work efficiently, minimising the wear and tear of your joints, in turn decreasing the risk of joint disorders like degenerative arthritis. A good posture also decreases the stress on the ligaments holding your joints together in your backbone. With the muscles, joints and ligaments working the way they were meant to, your vital organs function at maximum efficiency, as does your nervous system.

In the long term, bad posture can affect digestion, breathing, elimination, and the muscles, joints and ligaments, causing fatigue, joint stiffness and pain. This will inevitably compromise your overall health and efficiency – and you don’t want that!

Apart from maintaining health, good posture makes you look younger, slimmer, and knocks off at least 1-2.5kg from your appearance. (This made you sit up, didn’t it?) So, even if you don’t have the perfect body, you’ll still look way better if you simply straighten up and hold yourself up well!

Did you know, that sitting up straight isn’t just good for posture, but has psychological benefits too? A study by the Ohio State University has found that body posture affects confidence in your thoughts. So apart from being perceived as confident through a good posture, you can also boost your own confidence just by sitting or standing up straight! Try it!

Improving Your Posture

Standing

Hold your head high with your chin firmly out; shoulders back, chest out, and stomach tucked in. Make sure your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles are all in line.

Sitting

Again, keep your ears in line with your shoulders and hips. Let your feet rest flat on the floor, and avoid crossing your legs or sitting in the same position for over half an hour. When working on a computer, keep your monitor 15º below eye level, and take one or two minutes to walk around after sitting for every 20 minutes.

Sleeping

It’s best to sleep on your side with your knees bent, and head supported by a pillow that raises it to the level of your spine. Sleep on your back if you must, but don’t sleep on your stomach.

Now that you know how best to hold yourself, adjust your lifestyle in small yet significant ways to maintain good posture for life. This is what you’ll need to do:

  • Control your weight: Extra weight, especially around the middle, can put a strain on your back and weaken stomach muscles.
  • Exercise regularly: Build strength and improve flexibility through yoga or other forms of exercise in order to better retain your spinal curvatures.
  • Get a firm mattress: This will support your back and help maintain your natural spinal curves.
  • Mind your workplace: Make sure your chair offers your back proper support, and your desk is elbow high.

Now, you probably understand why your mum kept telling you not to slouch, when you were growing up. If that one reason wasn’t good enough then, you now have plenty more sound reasons for straightening up. So give your self-confidence, your appearance and your health a boost by maintaining good posture.

It’s time to stand up (straight) for yourself!