Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Want to look 5 pounds slimmer instantly? With no needles or sweating involved? Then it’s time to improve your posture! Especially if you have spent many moons pointing your nose and nipples to your toes.
Definition of Good Posture
Kymberly: What is good posture anyway? Let’s first establish what it is NOT: a straight back. The biggest mistake people make when trying to correct poor posture is to stand ramrod straight. The back has natural curves designed to absorb impact. And nothing about looking like you have a rod rammed up your spine is attractive! Or good for you.
What it IS: having alignment that creates the least amount of strain on your supporting muscles and ligaments when you stand, sit, move or perform weight-bearing activity. Notice that our list leaves out “sleeping” so feel free to hunch, slouch, curl, or straighten out when conked out!
What Does Good Posture Offer You?
For starters, standing tall helps you stay young by maintaining your range of motion and staving off age-related skeletal changes that make you shorter with each passing decade. But that’s not all folks!
When you extend into good posture, you:
- Look leaner instantly. Slumping and slouching turn off the abs, which allow the belly to protrude. As you lengthen into good posture, you engage the abs and compress, immediately taking weight off the middle visually.
- Look younger (it’s not called “old lady dowager hump for nothing)
- Project better body language
- Increase energy
- Enhance ability to breathe easily, freely, deeply. No wonder you have more energy! You can get oxygen more effectively to your brain, lungs, muscles — well, just about everywhere in your body.
- Improve your confidence and mood. A 2009 study in the European Journal of Social Psychology (Brion, Petty, & Wagner 2009) looked at how posture influences self-confidence. Researchers found that poor posture led to decreased self-confidence; good posture had the opposite, positive effect.
- Diminish aches, strains, and pains
- Decrease neck tension
- Reduce back pain
- Decrease wear and tear on joints, reducing the possibility of arthritis
Alexandra: Just a few days ago, a friend who’s an interior designer asked for posture suggestions because his back has been hurting from prolonged sitting. I recommended to him, and pass along to you, the BackJoy, which sits on your chair while you sit on it! (Disclosure: I was sent one free of charge to test out). Then you do the Hokey Pokey, except it’s more like the Finey Spiney. “You put your tush right on, you tuck your abs right in, your chest lifts up so quickly, and your spine becomes a Win! That’s what it’s all about!”
My older son has drummer’s slouch (I coined that term to describe his crappy posture, which he has when drumming, and well, all day long), so he’s been using the BackJoy during dinner. It has helped him, so I’m a fan. In my ideal world, my son (and everyone with posture issues) would do core and back strengthening moves. In the real world, the BackJoy is a complement to those exercises.
Come back on Thursday for our next post, which will also have some great posture info, plus an invitation to a wellness event where we’ll be doing posture assessments. Hint: the event is in a location that’s consistently rated as one of the top wellness spas. And that’s all I have to say about that! (Watch this video) P.S. Note his perfect posture.
Benefit from Our Posture Series
Motivated to learn more about how to asses and improve your posture? Then take advantage of our Fun and Fit Posture Series, provided in both posts and short videos. Going back to our early days of Fun and Fit, start with a humorous take on the subject,
The Straight Scoop on Super Posture. Then zip your way through the series, starting with
What’s Your Natural and True Posture? From there, proceed to
Want Perfect Posture? Come on, who doesn’t? Next, enjoy knowing what landmarks to look for in
Assessing Posture from the Side. Once you know what you’ve got goin’ on, it’s time to
Seated Posture Pointers will get you squirming out of your chair (and onto a ….). Gotta click and see to know. Lastly – whew! Will this series ever end? Not until you stand up taller! Anyway, lastly, check in with your
Chin Placement. Odds are you are trying to Get Ahead — and have become a dreaded Head Thruster.
What’s that you say? You want to short cut to the videos? Click the following to go right to our YouTube videos.
How to Find Your Natural Posture: Part 1
Quick Tips to Assess Posture Before Correcting It: Part 2
Look Longer and Leaner Once You Assess Posture from the Side, Part 3
Simple Exercises to Help Fix Posture: Part 4
Time to Fix Your Posture: Part 5
Seated Posture and Spinal Alignment: Part 6
Do a Chin Check to Get Proper Posture: Part 7