Let’s not make this all about losing weight, but let’s be realistic and enjoy the fact that improved posture means weight loss for many reasons.
Your weight shouldn’t define you, so just take that as a side benefit. Your posture is the thing that really counts.
It can make you look and feel better as well as reducing the risk of serious health conditions. And the best part is that your posture is one of the easiest things to work on.
If you had a grandmother like mine, you had many lessons and comments concerning how you should be sitting up straight.
My grandmother spent the last few years of her life in a hospital bed because of her problems with her back. I have scoliosis and (obviously) a family history of back problems.
However, when I was a kid I thought that good posture was as senseless as anything else.
My grandmother had a valid point though. As women age, even the ones who never had back problems need to start worrying about things like osteoporosis. Exercise, a healthy diet, and some focus on posture can lead to better health in general.
So, what’s the best way to enhance your posture? The best way is to not focus on your posture at all, but to focus on your core.
That’s right, we aren’t going to be taping any yardsticks to your head, but you would be doing yourself a huge favor if you invested in a stability ball. It’s really the only tool you need to improve your posture.
As you sit on a stability ball with both of your feet on the ground, you have no choice but to stabilize your core.
This means you sit up straight and use your back muscles as well as your abdomen muscles to keep your core steady.
You will also be using your legs to keep the ball steady.
Make sure to keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t let any one part of you touch another part of you. For example, don’t put your elbows on your knees. And yes, the stability ball can be lots of fun to play with too.
Your core is where it all starts. When you hunch over, you restrict the blood flow to your vital organs as you put pressure on them.
If you happen to be overweight already, you are already making your heart work harder than it should without hunching over. When you hunch over, you just about double the effort your heart has to put forth. Use the stability ball in place of your desk chair or favorite lounge chair. You will breathe easier, feel better, and enjoy a whole new posture. As a result, your body language will attract more people to you.
If you like the fact that this very low impact method is so effective, try planking next. You’ll be amazed at the results!
I used to watch a show on Lifetime called Drop Dead Diva. While not everyone I know thinks the show is great and while the storyline admittedly became a bit predictable after awhile, I couldn’t help but watch it.
In case you don’t know, the premise of the show is that a hot, young, blond model and a brilliant, equally hot (although slightly older and plus sized) attorney (pictured right) die on the same day.
The model goes to heaven and presses the “return” button on the heavenly processing agent’s computer–sending her back to Earth, just as the attorney’s body is revived. In the confusion, the model’s soul enters the attorney’s body, where she is “doomed” to spend the rest of her life.
So, now the model/attorney has all of the model’s memories, but the attorney’s smarts (and cushy life.) Sounds like a sweet deal, except for that pesky size 16 business.
In the first episode, the attorney has a client who has lost her self confidence (as the attorney has since she went from being a 24 year old size 2 to a 32 year old size 16.) Before court, the attorney helps her client get a makeover, but also does a little exercise with her.
She teaches her a special “model walk” and mantra, which she had designed and used to help improve her own self esteem during her model days. It works–for both the attorney and her client.
Shoulders back, show the rack!
Ok here’s where I’m going to stop talking about TV, but let me just say that mantra can really get stuck in a girl’s head. 🙂
Here’s the thing.
It turns out that maybe your mom wasn’t wrong on the whole “stand up straight” thing. Good posture can have seriously positive effects on your health.
Most obviously, poor posture can affect your physical health.
“We are now a society who spends a lot of time sitting in front of (take your pick) a computer, television, desk, video game, etc. Our children are spending even more time sitting down than we did as children. If you don’t think this is leading to a major health problem,” says physical therapist Eveline Erni, “I can assure you otherwise. On a daily basis I see patients in my practice for no other reason than because they have slumped over a desk since kindergarten. The results of slumping can be serious including disc surgery and pain and numbness running down the arms and/or legs.”
And perhaps more surprisingly, good posture can equal better mental health, higher self esteem and better overall outlook. An Ohio State University study completed with 71 students found that students with better posture had more positive thoughts, were more likely to believe in themselves and generally felt better.
Richard Petty, the study’s co-author and OSU psychology professor, says that while most people learn that good posture gives a good impression to other people, the study proves that one’s posture also affects his own self perception.
“People assume their confidence is coming from their own thoughts. They don’t realize their posture is affecting how much they believe in what they’re thinking,” Petty says. “Sitting up straight is something you can train yourself to do, and it has psychological benefits – as long as you generally have positive thoughts.”
Petty went on to say that good posture helped students to have more confidence in their own thoughts whether they were positive or negative.
Bliss Mission: Shoulders Back, Show the Rack
If you can stay focused on positive thoughts, standing up straight can help to reinforce those thoughts–helping you to more effectively manifest the life you desire.
It all sounds so simple, but it really makes such a significant difference.
Not convinced? Try this. Right now, sit up straight in your chair. Put your feet flat on the floor and rest evenly on your “sit bones.” Straighten your back and be sure your chin is level with the floor.
Now, give me a big, cheesy grin. Come on, just eek one out. Don’t worry, no one is looking. Hold it for a minute or two.
Did you try it?
I’ll bet you feel just a little more positive.
My challenge to you today is to watch your posture. Make a point of intentionally standing and sitting up straight all day. And while you’re at it, smile a little.
Then, watch your mood and perspective take a turn for the brighter. 🙂 What do you think?