The next time you wonder about how important posture is I want you to find a coffee shop and find a place to sit. Watch the people coming in and out. Are their fists in a tight ball, are they leaning towards someone else, are their arms crossed? Is someone’s head down and their shoulders rolled in?
Posture is how we humans tell how people feel and what reaction we should have to each other, accounting for at least 50% of how we communicate. You can see how an athlete might perform just on how they present themselves in competition. That’s why coaches always preach practice like you’re going to play. Do it right in practice and you’ll do it right in competition.
It’s not just sports that makes a difference. Take competitive dancing. It’s not called ‘Posture’ it’s called your ‘Center.’ In martial arts they call it their Chi. We’ve all heard of Tai Chi. It’s the way that you control your energy and posture has everything to do with it.
We’ve all heard the saying fake it till you make it. Sometimes by telling yourself that you can do it your brain will figure out how to do it. But you have to try. For example, try smiling even when you’re not happy. It releases different hormones, dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin- chemicals they can actually make you happy.
That same smile alone can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. All of that from changing the posture of tiny muscles in your face!
Let’s go a step beyond smiling- try laughing. We’ve all heard the phrase laughter is infectious. If you see someone laughing studies show that alone can make you laugh as well. Your posture doesn’t affect just you- it affects everyone around you. Think of a cat with its back arched- you know not to go near it. You know that means something is amiss. How about a person with their arms crossed their chest and their head turned away from you? You haven’t even seen this person and you know they are not friendly towards you.
Top ten things poor posture does:
- Creates tension on the spinal cord, affecting everything from turning your head to giving you headaches
- Causes bones to be misaligned, then to degenerate. The best way to visualize this is to look at a chewed-on dog bone. That, is what a degreased bone looks like
- Causes headaches, vertigo, and sinus drainage problems
- Causes us to breathe using accessory muscles like SCM instead of diaphragm which sends out body into fight or flight mode
- Stops us from fully oxygenated when we breathe, preventing us getting rid of waste like CO2
- Causes us to have pain in joints all the way from our feet and knees to our necks and lower backs
- Hits our nerves and can cause numbness, tingling, weakness, throbbing, and a sense of heaviness in our limbs
- Stops us from using our core muscles to initiate movement causing weakness and compensatory patterns in our movement
- Stops us from being efficient in our movements. For example, a runner with poor posture fatigues quickly and uses much more energy.
- Stops cerebellar stimulation, which controls all movement in the body.