5 Surprising Ways Bad Posture Is Ruining Your Life. Australian based Postural Behaviour Expert and occupational therapist Lorraine Josey is campaigning to make posture a priority on everybody’s New Year’s to-do-list.
“More and more the research is revealing how important posture is for your health, happiness, and wellbeing. Bad posture causes pain, drops in energy levels, self esteem, communication skills and appearance- it’s a critical part of healthy function and it’s something everyone needs to be taking notice of,” says Lorraine.
If ‘stop slouching’ has been on your to-do list for a while then read on, it could very well change your life.
5 Surprising Ways Bad Posture Is Ruining Your Life
1. It’s bringing you down, and decreasing your interpersonal skills
A recent study from the University of Auckland has found that posture actually influences mood. Participants were assigned and strapped into either slumped or upright posture and asked to complete a series of tasks which were carefully monitored. Linguistic analysis showed slumped participants used more negative emotion words, sadness words, first-person singular pronouns, and fewer positive emotion words than upright participants.
“It’s a circle just like forcing a smile can lift your mood, sitting up straight can make you feel happier, increase your ability to handle stress, and fascinatingly- increase your ability to communicate well with others, upping your speech rate and lowering your self focus”.
2. It’s increasing your stress levels
Bad posture influences the chemicals in your brain. A Harvard study has revealed that when people slouched they experienced a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol – meaning they had a significant rise in stress and drop in confidence. Those who adopted powerful postures (open shoulders and straight spines) had the opposite effect – a 20 percent increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol levels making them better prepped to tackle difficult situations.
“Studies have recently recommended that changing your postural habits for the better can be a tool to help fight stress and low self esteem”.
3. It’s making you frumpy
No doubt you’ve heard Mum say this a thousand times, but she is backed by science. Studies in which participants rank the same masked woman in different postures have repeatedly shown a slumped figure is regarded as duller, less sociable, more submissive, having more medical problems, is less attractive, and less sexy.
4. It’s affecting your sports and exercise performance
Posture is a key factor across almost all types of sport and exercise performance. Good posture helps you recruit the right muscles for the job, preventing injury, managing fatigue and increasing strength, balance and performance.
“Your head is the weight of a bowling ball. If it’s not balanced and you’re hunched over, so many parts of your body can’t perform at their peak. Through our work at BackTone we’ve encountered weight lifters, runners, tennis players, golfers, football players, ice skaters, horse riders, swimmers, yogi’s and athletes who are all enthusiastic about the power posture can have on their results”.
5. It’s increasing your pain in surprising areas of the body
Lorraine recently conducted a study that demonstrated a link between posture and pain in various parts of the body, and not just in your back. Participants also reported an improvement in shoulders, neck, arms, wrists and hands when they improved their habitual posture.
But it goes further – posture is now known to be linked to jaw pain, pelvic floor muscle activity and some forms of headaches.
“Posture is one of the most overlooked area’s of health, and also one of the most difficult to change because it’s a habit. Posture is what feels normal. But the benefits of posture improvement are enormous, and are something that everyone should be investigating”.
For more information on Lorraine’s work head to www.backtone.com.
Lorraine Josey is passionate about improving posture. During her thirty years as an Occupational Therapist she has worked in a wide range of clinical settings.
Lorraine developed the biofeedback device BackTone in 2002 while trying to change her patient’s posture in workplace rehab. The success was staggering, and Lorraine turned her attention to posture retraining. She will present her masters research into postural behaviour to the American Occupational Therapy Association in Chicago next year.