The only cost of improved posture is effort. The effort of working against gravity which continually drags you down into a lazy slouch. A slouch that can reduce your income, impair your health and change how people regard you.
Strong posture is a tall but relaxed stance or seated position where your sternum (top of your breast bone in your chest) is elevated but your shoulders are loose and relaxed.When teaching clients I asked them to imagine a string attached between belly button and top of sternum and to keep the string taut at all times – when standing, sitting, walking, driving, lifting, coughing, pushing a shopping trolley, wherever.
The benefits of a strong posture are well documented and it is the foundation upon which all your body language is delivered – your posture can reinforce or undermine your words, messages and signals without you even being aware. Just as others’ posture colours their communication. Imagine if James Bond slouched into a hotel lobby instead of arriving with a strong and relaxed posture which commands respect and attention.
Health-wise, a strong posture improves breathing function, oxygen supply to the brain and possibly clearer thinking. It aligns your joints and muscles into their most optimum position for action and protection. It improves transit and absorption in the gut, improving digestion. A strong posture engages the muscles that control pelvic floor, balance the head and stabilise the lower back (curiously, they are the same muscles!).
When working with men following prostate cancer treatment to restore their continence posture turns out to be a crucial element. As I learned from Stuart Baptist (Sydney Men’s Health Physio) using postural control strategies for those men who struggle with continence later in the day can help build a muscular pattern that enables better control.
Employers, negotiators, judges and mothers know the value of a strong posture, meaning you are likely to improve your job prospects and salary, win a debate, be found innocent and make your mum proud if you fight against gravity and don’t slouch.
Finally, if nothing else tips the scales (pun intended) you will look slimmer and taller with strong posture. Try it for a day and discover how many people remark that you have lost weight!
So if you want to be more healthy, successful, attractive and make your mum proud without spending any money – just straighten up.
More men’s health week tips each day this week.