Sit up straight!!!
How many times did you hear that in school, roll your eyes, then did as you were told? Do you recall actually feeling better and more alert when you slid your bottom towards the back of your chair and pulled your shoulders back and down?
Well, there is a neurological reason for this. In the brain stem, there is a mesh-like network of nerves that are responsible for telling you to be alert, wakeful, conscious. Sitting upright provides the internal feedback that triggers these nerves. It is called the reticular formation. Side note: sitting erect is also useful to those who pray and meditate.
However, if your neck, shoulders or lower back are yelping out, it could very well be that your posture needs some realigning.
Try this right now as you sit: create a plumb line. Align your head over your shoulders, shoulder over your hips, and plant your feet flat on the ground with your knees at the same level and width as your hips. Now you have good posture!
Though why is good posture important?
- It reduces the amount of force that muscles and joints have to absorb.
- It relieves the pressure on your lower back.
- It decreases the risks of aches and pains throughout your body. A neck pain today could become a hip pain tomorrow.
- It helps you to breath better. Having your shoulders back expands the diaphragm, giving more room to the airway in the lungs. You will also move more efficiently and are less prone to injury.
Here are other super good reasons you want good posture. It makes you feel more powerful.
Researchers at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and the University of Toronto’s J.L. Rotman School of Management have found that when you stand tall, in a dominant position, you literally feel more in control, and are better able to deal with distress, whether physical or emotional. Other studies have shown that assuming a “power stance,” will even boost your willingness to take risks.
What can you do to have better posture?
- Standing or sitting, make sure your head is on that plumb line with your shoulders, shoulders are in line with your hips.
- Avoid putting your body in crazy positions, like cradling a phone between your head and shoulders, or always looking down at digital screens.
- While working at your desk, plant your feet flat on the ground, and take frequent breaks to stretch.
- When carrying a purse or briefcase, alternate hands. Doing this will even out the imbalance of the excess weight on your body.
- Drive with your seat slightly reclined to take pressure off the back. Set your mirrors in a way that is comfortable for you to see other cars. Place your hands on the wheel at eleven and two o’clock. This neutral position is less fatiguing as well.
So, now that you are motivated and have the know-how, sit up, stand up straight and go conquer the world.