As much as we didn’t like to hear it growing up, “stand up straight” was very good advice indeed. Maintaining correct posture has so many benefits.
Reduced Lower Back Pain
Sitting or standing in a slouched position for prolonged periods of time puts undue stress on your lower back. Maintaining proper posture protects the intricate pieces of your spine keeping them healthy and functioning correctly.
Less Tension in the Shoulders and Neck
A forward head posture puts strain on the upper back, shoulder and neck areas. When you sit or stand in proper alignment, your joints and ligaments are less stressed and therefore less subject to chronic overuse.
Increased Energy Levels
Standing tall and sitting up straight allows your muscles to be used as they were intended. When your muscles don’t have to work so hard you will feel less fatigued and have more energy.
Increased Lung Capacity
If you slouch, whether standing or seated, you are compressing your lungs. When you correct your posture, your lungs have more space in which to expand. The more your lungs can expand the more oxygen you can take in. The more oxygen you take in, the more energy you will have.
Improved Core Strength
Muscular effort is required to maintain good posture. When you’re holding a good posture, your core and upper back muscles will naturally remain active and engaged.
An assertive posture projects confidence. Additionally, your posture has an impact on how you think about yourself. It can increase your self-esteem and uplift your mood. Sitting up straight and standing up tall with an upright posture will help you achieve the mental shift to offset negativity and promote higher levels of optimism.
Posture and Qigong
Along with breath and mind intent, posture is one of the three adjustments in Qigong. Aligning your body, specifically the skeletal system and sinew channels, allows for the normal flow of Qi and blood throughout your body. Good posture adjusts the anatomical structures, which allows the internal organs to retain their normal positions so they can function at their optimum best.
Standing: Your legs should be approximately shoulder-width apart with your feet parallel and your weight evenly distributed. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and not tensed. Your legs should have a slight knee bend so you’re not hyper-extending or locking your knee joints. Raise the top of your head to elongate your neck and spine.
Seated: Ensure that your feet are planted flat on the floor with even weight on both hips. Your back should be mostly straight, you’ll have natural curves in your lumbar, thoracic, and cervical areas. Your shoulders should be back but relaxed and your ears should line up over your collarbones.
Now, call home and thank Mom for all the “stand up straight” reminders she gave you over the years. As always, she was right!
By Kate Branson