Why great posture is vital for your health
Your posture affects your energy levels, your digestion as well as your circulation. Whilst bad posture will increase your likelihood of a fall or a sports injury. Even more importantly bad posture has a dramatic effect on your immunity and your ability to fight off coughs, colds and more serious illnesses. Holding yourself crooked for long periods of time will stop your body functioning at an optimum level. This blog will outline why you should cultivate better posture and how to do that.
Hunching isn’t inevitable
Whether you are creating bad posture from consistently working for long hours at a desk, answer emails from a slouched couch position or over the kitchen worktop whilst multi-tasking and preparing meals. Bad posture will hold that pain and discomfort of that posture in your body. Bad posture drains your body of energy. And as a result your body simply won’t function appropriately and yet it is the one big component of your health that you can have a direct impact on.
Maybe you have felt that becoming hunched up is an inevitable part of your ageing process? Or feeling stiff and sore early in the morning is unavoidable?
Simple postural techniques will help you to maintain great health, keep you supple and hold the balance in your body. In the longer term how you treat your body from day to day now will affect how you feel and look as you age.
Listen to your body’s messages.
Perhaps you haven’t made the connection with your body, your body functions, your cells and your posture? You make have a tweak here or there but generally, you feel pretty well most of the time?
The clues lie in the detail – perhaps you find yourself unable to move once or twice a year because your back is so sore? Or perhaps you get regular headaches so that you keep buying paracetamol with your weekly shop? Do you have dodgy knee or do you sprain your ankles or trip regularly?
A slight niggle here and there is something you probably don’t notice or ignore and yet these little clues are insights into your body and can be the earliest indicator of your health on a cellular level.
You can achieve better balance, gain a leaner body and feel more poised and less stressed simply by practising good posture. Making some small changes and being aware of your posture will dramatically improve your well being. Making a commitment to monitor your posture in the long-term will have a profound effect on your life.
Bad posture creates brain fog
Slouching for hours over a desk will affect the rest of your day, and arguably the rest of your week and let’s be dramatic about this perhaps even your life! You know that you should be getting up every hour to grab a glass of water and you know that is going to benefit you, but do you take the time to do it? Stuck in the same position for hours, your metabolism slows down and your breathing becomes very shallow. You begin to get brain fog simply because of an oxygen deficit.
It isn’t just sitting still – it is those awkward movements that hold your body in a crooked position during the rest of your day. Infront of the telly or chatting to your friends whilst sitting in the same position. Chatting in the garden, walking around could be an easy alternative. Simply being aware of what you are doing will give you the clues as to how to change them.
Physical stress created from bad posture
Poor alignment is one of the leading causes of neck pain and headaches. For instance, jutting your chin forward will strain the neck muscles that will affect right up and over your skull.
Hunching forward and looking down puts extra strain on your neck. The nerves that come out from your neck and upper back control the muscle function and sensations of the arms, wrists, and hands. Your nerves can get pinched from the spine (bone or discs) or from chronically tight muscles, which will lead to carpal-tunnel-type numbness, tingling, or pain throughout the arm.
Bad posture means that certain muscles will become overworked and fatigue quickly, your body and its muscles will become inflamed and irritated.
Poor posture means your body has to work harder to keep you upright, which will end up leaving you feeling tired. Your nervous system wants to maintain a posture that is upright and this position demands the least amount of muscle activation as possible.
The more you deviate from your true centre, the harder your nervous and muscular systems have to work, and therefore you expend and require more energy.
Your sleep is affected
Your sleep will be affected if your muscles have been tight and stressed all day. Your body needs time to relax and unwind and if you haven’t loosened up tight muscles will prevent you from getting off to sleep or having a restful sleep.
You may even wake up with twitchy muscles that have not been stretched. Muscle twitches caused by stress and anxiety can affect any muscle in the body. Consuming too much caffeine can cause muscles in any part of the body to twitch. Plus dehydration can cause muscle contraction and twitching, especially in the body’s larger muscles.
Moving around during the day, spending time away from your desk, drinking water will alleviate these symptoms. Click here to Join the Water challenge
The mental strain caused by bad posture
Because bad posture causes your back muscles to work harder, it causes physical stress and therefore, pain. Over a long period of time, however niggly or minor will have a negative impact on your mental health
Your mood will be affected by your posture. Your posture has a direct connection with your mind, and both can be affected by one another. This association is called “embodied cognition,” and it essentially means that the relationship between your mind and your body runs both ways: Your body movements can affect your mood and overall mental well-being, and your moods can affect your body movements.
If you are slumped forward at your desk all day you will appear less confident and shy and react accordingly. The more confident you feel, the more you tend to open up. Your chin is up, your shoulders are back, and you’re actively taking up space wherever you are. Conversely, when you’re feeling “small,” insecure, or unhappy, you tend to want to become small, to take up as little space as possible, and so you hunch your shoulders and look down.
“Ageless body timeless mind” Deepak Chopra
Every cell in your body is aware of how you think and how you feel about yourself. Once you accept that the whole illusion of being victimised is mindless, randomly degenerating body falls away.
The first step to making the change is awareness. Be aware of how you hold yourself throughout your day. Mindful awareness is your first step.
Appreciating your body and how you are holding yourself in any given moment throughout your day will help.
Taking regular postural correcting Pilates workout is your second step
Pilates is a way of life that will improve your life
Pilates is fundamentally about integration: integrating movement into a flowing whole body experience and integrating the mind and body to create clarity and purpose. By integrating your mind with your body you will rejuvenate your spirit and will be on your way to creating a life of balance.
If you are interested in a little more Pilates practice or homework join me for a Pilates class at home
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