When I was a kid my mum always told me to sit up straight and stand up straight. Posture, apparently, is important. But why? When I sat down (with a straight back) recently and thought about this I came to the conclusion that there is in fact three reasons why posture is important.
1. The Physical Reason
When you slouch for too long you end up with a sore back. And also a lot of tension in your back since it’s working overtime trying to straighten you out. Your neck will also try to overcompensate and bring you back into alignment. This will result in really tight should and neck muscles and possibly headaches.
2. The Visual Reason
Close your eyes and picture two people. Hang on – read this post first and then do this exercise. Picture two people – one standing up straight and one slouching. What do you see? I bet that you see something like this…
Which one of these guys do you think is more successful? Appearances can be deceiving, but first impressions last a long time.
Standing up straight exudes confidence and strength. Whereas slouching gives the impression of weakness and uncertainty. When you meet some new, the first impression you give them is your appearance. And that impression influences everything else you say and how that person interacts with you. It’s true.
3. The Productivity Reason
Your posture affects your productivity. When you slouch down in your chair, or hunch over your computer, you start to feel unenthusiastic. You’re energy levels drain away and before you know it you’re surfing YouTube or StumbleUpon wasting the day away (note, I’m not saying that YouTube or StumbleUpon are a waste of time, but they have a time and a place, that is all).
The next time you sit at your desk, think about how you’re sitting. Sit back in your chair, straighten your back and move your shoulders down and back. I was always told to imagine the top of my head was connected to the ceiling, pulling me upwards. Basically, you want your centre of gravity to be on this line. Don’t let your head fall forward. This will add strain to your neck causing it to try to tighten to correct your posture and you’ll end up with headaches eventually. Now that you’re sitting correctly, don’t you feel more alert, more ready to act? This simple shift in body shape tricks your mind and instantly gives you the boost to tackle your todo list.
When you get up to move about, don’t lose your posture! Chin up, back straight, shoulders back. Walk with purpose instead of dragging yourself around. Walk faster. Walk taller. Walk with purpose.
I have to constantly remind myself to sit up and stand up straight, but the moment I do, I can feel the difference.
I challenge you to correct your posture right now. Go on. Sit up. It may feel a bit weird at first, but soon the energy will start to flow. It it’s feels really uncomfortable I’d recommend seeing a doctor, or a chiropractor, or maybe a physiotherapist.
If you found this worked well for you, let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.