How many of you looked like this either on the couch, at the dinner table, or at your desk at school growing up?
And how many times have you gotten the lecture, “Sit up! Stop slouching! You’ll get a hump when you’re 60 if you keep sitting like that,”….? And how many times did you want to gouge your eyes out with a fork each time you heard it?
I know I heard it a lot. Not quite in those words, but the same concept.
My dad drilled it into me that having an upright posture is good for you, and I completely understood him, but it was always so much easier to let my back loose and just be a “slouch” potato.
I didn’t understand then how important good posture was, but I do now, and I am adamant about keeping it.
Once I got to 4 years ago I started focusing on becoming a more mature and intellectual adult, but I decided that, along with all of my studies, I would focus on the more personal aspects as well. This included perfecting my skills at organization, spirituality, and becoming more aware of what my body needs, starting with posture.
I now maintain a more upright stance while sitting down, but I never really delved into the health benefits of it until recently.
Once I started doing yoga, it opened my eyes to why they focus so much on strengthening your middle and back muscles: because they are the supports that keep your body functioning at maximum capacity.
Think about it… how much better can you breathe if you sitting up straight? And in turn how much better can you think if you are allowing more oxygen to flow to your brain? And stemming from that how much better can you function as an individual if your brain is working at its max potential? (hence why yoga uses posture, balance, and meditation to achieve the same goal 😉 You can tell I like to build yoga up a lot…
There are so many good health benefits from having good posture, like avoiding slipped discs, strengthening your back so you don’t have back pain, good circulation throughout your body, and giving your diaphragm enough room to expand and breathe. However, there are also other benefits that affect your business and home lifestyles.
If you were to pretend you were a business owner or manager (or if you are one you don’t need to pretend :P) and you were interviewing a potential employee, what would be your first impression if you were to watch them stroll in a plop down in the seat and slouch like a limp cat?
It probably wouldn’t be very good would it…
Now to rewind and pretend that that same potential employee came in and sat down smoothly and sat with a distinguished stance, you might think that this interviewer would be a confident contender!
Maintaining a strong posture makes you look smart, distinguished, and totally capable of handling mature, adult responsibilities. (but it is up to you to fulfill those, the posture is not going to do it for you :P) It gives you the door you need to create a good, first impression. You may have missed out on some great opportunities because you did not present yourself well! So fix it now!
Having good posture also affects your home life as well. If you have children, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Bending over 750,000 times a day gets pretty old after a while…So why wait to give your back the strength that it needs? Rearing up children is hard enough without all of the back pain involved!
I think that in the back of mind I knew all of these things when I started focusing more on posture, but I was never able to bring them to the front of my mind until now. This is why it all makes sense!
And keep in mind, good posture does not mean you should keep your back at a complete 90 degree angle to your legs while you are sitting down. Making your back completely straight can actually have just as awful effects to your back that slouching can. You want to maintain the natural curves in your back, not enlarge them.
So all good posture is, is allowing about 2-3 inches between the middle of your shoulder blades and the chair, and lifting your diaphragm up until the bottom of your rib cage is parallel with your hips. Don’t let your ribs sink into your abdomen!
Now that you’ve tried that (because I know you just did!) take a long, deep breath…feel your ribs expand as you take in all the air you can, and let it all out through your nose slowly, relaxing your ab muscles.
Wasn’t that so much easier than trying to breathe while slouching?!
If you work on keeping a good posture every day, it will be a tremendous help to your back, but also a good boost for all of the systems in your body!
If you need to, set a reminder on your phone every 30 minutes to an hour to check your posture. I have mine set to every two hours. You will be surprised at how many times you have to correct yourself at first! And it will get easier the more you practice.
So work hard at keeping your body strong! This the easiest way to take care of the temple God gave you! 🙂