Standing Tall: The Importance
of Good Posture

Bad Posture vs Good Posture

Everyone knows that good posture is important.  The way you stand, walk, and sit says a lot about your personality, attitude, and confidence level.

Sadly, one of my friends died this year from Lou Gehrig’s disease.  He was a person who, though he lost his ability to shake hands or stand up straight, still kept his head up.  When you were in the same room as he, you looked to him for strength.

This is why posture involves more than physical appearance.  More than the way you position your body, it’s also the positioning of your approach to life.

What’s Your Position?

Physically, we are built to stand up and sit straight and tall.  This is one reason your parents, grandparents, and teachers probably reminded you to “stand up straight,” “don’t slouch,” or “pull your shoulders back.”

These days in the increasingly body-involved digital age with persons regularly bent over, heads down, and shoulders hunched, it’s important to work daily on good posture.

Gravity pulls our bodies downwards, so aligning ourselves by distributing the force of gravity through our bodies as evenly as possible is the goal.  Every part of our bodies works better with good posture.  So we try hard to have it!  And when we do, we feel good and we look good.

Have you ever seen a person dressed up, but who has bad posture?  The clothing does nothing to enhance his appearance because the posture is unattractive.

Try the mirror test:  Stand in front of a mirror.  Take a deep breath and then stand straight.  Now, hunch over and hold a bad posture position and take in breath.  What do you see?  How do you feel?

Bad posture is not only unattractive, if not intervened upon, will contribute to lifelong health problems.

Healthy Posture, Healthy Body

Any dance or athletic skill requires practiced posture and proper breath work.   So to get the full benefit of exercise, it’s best to add appropriate body alignment to your routine.

Digestion and blood circulation are enhanced by good posture.  It helps your spine remain healthy and strong.  Your muscles work more efficiently and you are more involved in your physical surroundings with eyes to the horizon.

According to Darren Fletcher, Founder and the principle practitioner at Posture Dynamics, bad posture is responsible for alteration of bone and soft tissues, which can cause intervertebral disc damage, fibrotic scar tissue and many other injuries. 

Additional benefits of keeping your body in good position come in the emotional realm.   Mentally, you have a better outlook on the world.  You appear to others, and tend to truly feel, more confident and relaxed.

Recent research by Erik Peper, Professor of Health Education at San Francisco State University, published in Biofeedback reveals that simply choosing to alter body posture to a more upright position can improve mood and energy levels and help with depression.

Never underestimate what good body alignment can do for you!

Practice Good Posture

Here are some points to practice so you can keep good posture at all times:

  • Breathe in and let your chest extend outward, as you simultaneously hold your head straight, chin parallel to the ground.
  • Naturally hold your shoulders back and relaxed.
  • Tuck in your bottom and position the core of your abdomen.
  • Stand with your weight distributed evenly on your feet.
  • Do not lean back or push your bottom out for some imagined good effect, as there is none.
  • Stand as tall as you can!

When you are seated, good posture is not forgotten:

  • Sit with your spine straight against the back of the chair.
  • Ladies, keep your knees together and ankles crossed, with your hands placed one over the other on your thigh.
  • Men, make sure that your legs or knees do not extend past the boundary of your chair.  Your hands are placed, one on each thigh.

Want to see some of these pointers in action?  Here is an excellent video to help.

Optimal balance of the body and the choice to stay healthy is good for your social and professional life.  Your consistent display of good posture may even serve as a visual queue to someone else. 

Have you ever noticed a person who is taking a deep breath and as she does so, seems to rise up taller and higher?  You tend to imitate that.  It’s powerful!

So look up, see the sky and clouds.  It’s good practice for seeking the horizon of opportunity, for feeling good, and for training your back to hold you up as you experience this wonderful world!

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