We’ve all heard it a billion times by now…
Sit up straight! Stop Slouching! We’ve heard it from our kindergarten teachers and we heard it from our mom’s. For the unlucky ones of us, we heard it from our doctors and chiropractors every time we had to miss work for grueling back pain. And now, we hear it from the media. Posture is everywhere. Offices are investing in standing desks and people are investing in ergonomic chairs. We all know maintaining good posture is important, but why?
1. Posture = Power
Across species, posture is often the primary representation of power. By now, most of us have heard about Amy Cuddy’s famous ‘Power Posing.’ Cuddy found that open, expansive postures reflect high power while narrow, closed postures reflect low power. These poses not only display power, but can actually produce it. People with high power poses have increased feelings of dominance, risk-taking, and power as well as reduced anxiety.
2. Say goodbye to back pain
Good posture is critical to reducing back and neck pain. Slouching can add strain to muscles and put stress on the spine. This can change the anatomical characteristics of the spine, leading to constricted blood vessels and nerves, as well as problems with muscles, discs, and joins. The Cleveland Clinic notes that people who suffer from back pain experience positive changes when they improve their posture.
3. Look good and feel confident
Needless to say, being upright does wonders for your appearance. You look taller, slimmer and more successful when you sit and stand tall. It is imperative to making a good first impression. A study by researchers at Ohio State University found that sitting upright actually reinforced confidence. Upright participants felt confidence in their thoughts whereas slumped participants were more unsure of their themselves.
4. Lose weight!
You can actually burn up to 350 calories a day by being upright! Chiropractor James Emmett explains that this is because by carrying yourself better, you are “taking tension off the whole body and everything starts to flow better.”
5. Build a stronger core
By sitting upright we extend the mid back, which leads to a neutral spine that allows the pelvis to position itself in a way that the core muscles can activate better. Once core muscles are working better, the abs will appear flatter and toned.
6. Breathe Better
Keeping an UpRight posture helps open up the airways and ensure proper breathing. This allows more oxygen to flow through the cardiopulmonary system. The blood is then able to carry sufficient oxygen to the whole body and ensure that your nervous system, organs and other tissues function effectively.
7. Improve your memory and brain
A study conducted by Indiana University focused on how words and memories are linked to posture and found that babies’ learning ability is in fact affected by their posture. Being upright improved their ability to map new experiences and remember things.
8. Improve your mood
Erik Peper carried out a range of experiments to test how posture affects energy level and the ability to generate positive and negative thoughts. He found that participants who were upright and dynamic felt more energetic, happier and positive. By contrast, those who slouched reported feeling sad, lonely and isolated.
9. Reduce your stress
Stress not only causes poor posture, but also actually perpetuates it! A recent study compared different seated postures to evaluate how each affected emotions in the face of stress. Results found that adopting an upright posture when stressed can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture. Therefore, sitting upright might be a simple strategy to help build resilience to stress.
10. Be more productive
Sitting upright makes you more alert, concentrated, and productive. The reason is that when you slouch, your body takes in as much as 30% less oxygen than you’d take in with good posture. This means that when you slouch, it is much harder to keep your energy up.
So turns out maintaining an upright posture touches almost every aspect of our lives, from our appearance, health, productivity and even our mood.