Benefits of improved posture
- Less aches and pains The further you take your body off your plum line, the more your muscles have to work. For example if your head is forward of your plum line your neck muscles have to work harder to hold your head up. This means aches and pains through the back of the neck. This can cause headaches. If you are constantly slouched then your internal organs may not function as well. For example your lungs may not be able to expand fully – this can make it more difficult to recover from colds and lung infections. Giving your internal organs space can improve your digestion. If you are pregnant you will be giving your baby more space to grow. If your knees are constantly hyper-extending then the wear and tear at the petalla-femoral joint will be increased, causing early degeneration and pain at this joint. So if you know your knees hyper-extended then just soften them a little so they don’t lock back. Improved posture reduces strain and pressure on your supporting joints, muscles, ligaments and vital organs. If your body follows the plum line then no one part will become more stressed than the other. If your pelvis is neutral then this is the best alignment for shock absorption for the whole spine. So if your pelvis is tilted too far one way or the other then there is more stress on the inter-vertebral discs creating uneven load and faster wear and tear on these support structures.
- More energy and greater happiness The better your posture the more efficiently you will move through your day. Less energy is required to balance your head over your ribs and your ribs over your pelvis with improved posture. Imagine floating through your day – your head floating off your shoulders like a helium balloon. Slouching can actually make you feel even more exhausted as your lungs and internal organs don’t have the room to function fully and your mood can follow the feeling of your slouch. When you are depressed this is reflected in your posture. If you improve your posture your mood may improve too! If your body is less stressed because you are holding yourself better then that is one easy way to reduce stress in your life!
- Look slimmer and taller Standing up straight (especially important if you have scoliosis) can make you look taller. In Pilates we call this Axial elongation – where the axial skeleton of the head, spine and pelvis are lengthened, creating more space for the inter-vertebral discs. This length can actually make you look taller. As you draw your abdominal wall closer to your spine while lengthening the back of the neck and dropping the tail down you will look and feel slimmer
- Think more clearly Hunched posture can restrict breathing and interrupt oxygen flow to the brain. Allow your ribs to expand as you breathe. Open a window or go for a walk and lengthen your spine allowing your ribs to open as you move through the day.
- Look younger Slouchy posture can make you look older than you actually are. Improved posture can take years off you, as you move with far more ease and grace.
- Boost confidence Fake it till you make it! Feeling unsure? Just stand taller and give the illusion of confidence. People will notice you are a confident person and treat you as such. Don’t be bullied, stand taller and feel the benefits of how others treat you! You will become more confident simply by making your posture more confident! Trick yourself into it.
- Improve your prospects Holding a good carriage will make a better impression than a slouchy one that seems to be apologizing for existing. This applies in employment opportunities, work meetings and also in social settings.
Pilates Wellness Australia