Saturday, 23 May 2009

Seven Stunning Things You Must Know About Good Posture

Have you ever caught your reflection in a window or mirror and
saw that your head leads the way – doesn't sit directly over
your shoulders? Or noticed that your shoulders are too rounded
and your upper back is slumped forward? These are common
postural problems that affect millions of Americans.

Your posture, the way you carry yourself, is important for a
variety of reasons – a few of which may surprise you. Here's 5
to consider.

Look 10 Years Younger

A study done in Louisville, Kentucky, showed how posture
affects perceptions of age and beauty. Two women, both five foot
four, one weighing 105 pounds and the other 125, were asked to
put on leotards and cover their faces. Side-view pictures were
taken of each woman with normal and slumping posture. Then sixty
people were asked to look at the pictures and rate the women's
appearances. When the women stood up straight, viewers
consistently described them as younger and more attractive. In
fact, the upright 125 pound woman was rated more favorably than
the slumping 105 pound woman.

Nothing ages you faster than a shrinking, stooped posture. A
strong, straight spine portrays youth and vigor. Slumping
forward decreases your chest measurement, causes rounded and
narrow shoulders, and forces your belly to stick out more.

Look 10 Pounds Thinner

Simply by standing straighter, you will instantly slim your
waistline by an inch or more. When the upper back slumps
forward, it presses the rib cage down on the abdominal organs.
The belly protrudes, making the waistline appear larger than it
really is. Every second you stand or sit with your rib cage
slumping forward, you are weakening your abdominal muscles as
well as back muscles.

Radiate Confidence

Psychological studies have shown that good posture exudes
health, vitality, and confidence, while slouching signals
insecurity, weakness, and self-doubt. Consciously or not, we
tell the world a lot about our mental and emotional state by the
way we stand, sit, and move. In fact, posture is one of the
first three things people notice about each other (the other two
are hair and eyes).

Improving your posture can help you build self-esteem,
interview well for jobs, improve your work performance,
particularly in sales or business, and convey an air of
self-respect.

Regain Lost Height

If you've ever been told by a nurse at your doctor's office
that you are an inch or two shorter than you were in previous
years, it is NOT because you've shrunk. It is because your
spinal curves have become more exaggerated. In other words, your
posture has become worse. Once you learn the keys to improving
your posture, you'll find you will re-gain most, if not all, of
that 'lost' height.

A Better Look And Fit For Your Clothes

So many people spend lots of money on their clothes every year.
But if your posture is bad, your clothes will not fit you
correctly, no matter how much you spend on them. If your head
hangs too far forward from your shoulders or your upper back is
slumped, your mid-section becomes wider than it really is and
your belly sticks forward way more than it should. Improve your
posture and your clothes will automatically look better and fit
you better.

Improve Your Athletic Performance

When you work out or play sports, poor posture increases the
chance that you will injure your neck, shoulder, upper back,
lower back, hips, and knees. Good posture reduces injuries,
muscle strain and aches, and helps you move more easily,
gracefully, and powerfully; and gives your lungs more room so
you have a greater breathing capacity. In fact, a slumping
posture can decrease lung capacity by as much as 30%.

Prevent Back & Neck Pain

This is the most important benefit to improving posture. Good
posture can prevent a lifetime of annoying and painful back
problems. Poor posture is the leading cause of back and neck
pain.

The spine, or backbone, is the main supporting structure of the
entire body. It is composed of twenty-four interlocking bones
called vertebrae, which are stacked one upon the other. In
between the vertebrae are disks, which are meant to provide
shock absorption and cushioning. This is a delicate, finely
balanced structure that can easily be injured. When posture is
poor, uneven pressures are placed along the spine and the joints
no longer fit together the way they are supposed to. Everyday
activities can result in friction, pain, irritation and
excessive wear and tear, especially in the lower, mid and upper
back as well as neck.

Poor posture also forces some muscles to work excessively hard
while others don't have to work at all. They just get weaker and
weaker, setting up a vicious cycle of discomfort and pain.
Gradually, the muscles lose their ability to support the body
correctly, and posture grows even worse.

Knowing the basics of good posture can make the difference
between a healthy back and an aching one. When properly aligned,
your body moves with ease and comfort. The muscles in the front
and back of your body work together harmoniously.


About The Author: Janice Novak has a Master's Degree in Health
& Physical Education and is an internationally acclaimed author,
speaker and wellness consultant. Her program improves health,
decreases sick days and improves productivity, alertness, energy
and motivation. Visit
http://www.improveyourposture.com/index.html