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Why Is Posture Important?

girl sitting in parkOne of the things Chiropractors assess for is posture. But, has anybody ever told you why posture is so important?

Posture tells us a number of different things. The biggest one, is how much stress you are under! Did you know, our posture is a direct reflection of that lovely stress response I talk about so much? Our bodies natural defense state, is a forward hunched over posture. As soon as a Chiropractor sees this, we automatically know there is some form of stress: physical, chemical or emotional.

The Effects of Bad Posture

Not only does a hunched-over posture look bad but it also can contribute to many problems. These include

  • Back pain
  • Changes in gait (i.e. walking)
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Increased stress hormones

What Does It Mean to Have Good Posture?

The good posture definition is the body position that contributes to the optimal functioning of all body parts. When someone practices good posture, the position balances the distribution of weight. As a result, the least amount of strain is placed on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones.

The Emotional Element of Posture

I also want to touch on the emotional component to our posture because our posture is directly tied in with our mood, as well as other’s perception of our mood. It has been suggested that a hunched posture may make you appear to be sad, scared or antisocial. This negative perception may, in turn, negatively affect your mood. We can use our posture to tap into the body and address the connected stressful events in your life using Neuro-Emotional Technique.

What Does Your Posture Pose Say About You?

A TED talk was done by Amy Cuddy which is something I suggest everybody watch. This was called “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” In this TED talk, she discusses certain poses that Cuddy refers to as power poses. These poses are associated with feeling more powerful and confident—which are of course more upright and open postures.

The postures that are associated with decreased self-esteem and self-confidence are the hunched forward and slumped postures. In Cuddy’s talk, she discusses how this affects others’ perception of us. And as I mentioned above, this negatively affects how other people see, which naturally becomes a vicious cycle.

The Connection Between Power Poses and Two Hormones

From a neurological perspective, these power poses are linked to the hormones that our brain releases! Cuddy shows this in relation to two different hormones.

Cortisol is one of the biggest stress hormones that we have. This hormone is what is released during the fight or flight state. What this TED talk showed based on a study that was conducted, is that hunched forward postures are correlated with increased cortisol levels and upright positions with decreased levels. What this shows is that stress is connected to our bodies being hunched forward. If we can correct this hunched forward posture, we can affect this connection, decreasing our stress hormones.

The other hormone Cuddy discusses is testosterone. This hormone indirectly relates to our confidence. What she found, is that upright postures cause an increase in testosterone, and, you guessed it, slumped/hunched forward posture causes a decrease in testosterone.

Posture affects our mindset and functioning
Open posture makes us feel confident and happy
Small poses make us feel sad and self conscious
There are things we can do to change that
Unlearn your belief that posture isn’t important
Retrain your muscles to hold you upright
Experience what your body was truly meant to feel like!

Next time you think correcting your posture doesn’t matter and won’t affect anything, please think again! Our posture affects us more than we know. It affects our physiology, emotions and muscular functioning as well.

I am just a short e-mail away to answering any questions you may have.

Yours in health; body, mind and soul.

Dr. Julianne Donato, B.A., D.C.

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