Did you have a mother or grandmother that hounded you about your posture, “SIT UP STRAIGHT!”, or “DON’T SLOUCH!”. Chances are good, if you didn’t, you know they’re out there.
These folks were onto something. Not only does poor posture look bad, it’s bad for you.
The Unattractive Slump
Just picture it. A 30 year old man in a business suit with a fit physique, standing up straight and tall with his shoulders back and his head up. Powerful image right?
Now picture that same man with rounded shoulders, un-flexed core, leaning to one side, looking down. Does he exude confidence?
Poor posture makes us look weak and when we look weak we feel weak. Who do you think would get a promotion faster or even make friends easier? Your posture says a lot about you. Whether the people around you are trained to notice it or not, they’re picking up on it and you want them to receive the right message about you. You’re strong, powerful, in control, and confident! So walk that way!
Battle of the Posture Bulge
Poor posture makes you look heavy. When you’re slumped over, you create a rounded appearance. Not only that, but your organs now have nowhere to sit. They’re being pushed out because of your bad posture.
What to Do?
The moment you pass your reflection and notice your insecure looking posture, allow that to be a trigger to take a deep breath, draw back your shoulders, lift your chin and pick up your chest. This will IMMEDIATELY cause you to feel strong, in control, and better about yourself all around.
Pain and Disease
Slouching can put loads of pressure on your neck and spine, causing pain, and over time, potentially chronic pain. The research proving correlation between increase risk for disease is staggering.
This infographic visually outlines the amount of time spent in a typical day in a seated position. It’s hard to get around it.
Sitting down too often is bad enough on our posture and bodies but sitting also often leads to slouching. And slouching cuts off our circulation. Our bodies are busy 24 hours a day moving fluids around our body. Water and blood to mention two very important fluids. Sitting and more so, crossing our legs, can cut off the circulation which slows necessary fluid movement and can even lead to spider veins.
What’s The Fix?
Get up and move. Stretch. Take 30 seconds every half hour and take a walk for a drink of water. Bend down and hold a stretch for 30 seconds. Breaking up your sitting routine will increase respiratory function, circulation and your emotional state.
NEAT exercises, or non-exercise activity thermogenesis, includes all the little activities we do during the day which help us burn calories. Activities such as fidgeting, standing, gesturing, shivering, reaching, etc. Since standing is one of these activities, it helps to add to a bigger calorie burn throughout the day which will only assist in weight loss. Standing also tends to lend itself to additional movement, such as pacing. Call it a gateway drug for moving! The more movement, the more calories burned.
Your poor posture is directly correlated to negative emotional states. Psychology Today published an article outlining the affects of sitting and how hazardous it is to your cardiovascular and metabolic health. It also touches on the relationship between depression and sitting and how it drains energy and motivation, causing a further spiral into depression.
What Do I Do About It?
If you have a desk job and can solicit for a standing desk, go for it! More and more employees are entertaining the requests from their employees to accommodate this growing need. After all, a healthier and happier employee is only going to benefit them. And the fact that the very job you may have, which is causing you to sit for such long hours, can be the root of the cause of this sitting disease issue, it would behoove them to stand up and listen. Pun intended.
Bottom line. Stand up straight, sit up straight, just like mom said, and you’ll start feeling and looking better immediately, and your body will thank you.