Week 16: Improve Your Posture
Quote: Why have a good posture? There are 5 key benefits from maintaining a good posture.
- Facilitates breathing: A good posture naturally enables you to breathe properly. I started appreciating this after I started meditating regularly a few months back, coupled with a good posture. I found a really a huge difference in the amount of air I could inhale between sitting up straight and slouching. This is why yoga, Pilates and meditation exercises pay so much attention to getting your posture and sitting positions right.
- Increases concentration and thinking ability: When you are breathing properly, you increase your thinking ability too. Our brain requires 20% of oxygen to do its job properly. More air, more oxygen. More oxygen, more brain food. More brain food leads to more thoughts and ideas.
- Improve your image: People with good postures look smarter and more attractive. Have you ever seen someone with a bad posture and felt the person seemed unkempt, even though the person has not said or done anything yet? On the flip side, someone with a good posture naturally exudes an aura of assertiveness and appeal.
- Feel even better about yourself: When you have a good posture, it helps to make you feel more self-confident, without even doing anything else different. Try sitting in a bad posture now for 30 seconds. Now, switch to a good posture for 30 seconds as well. Is there any difference in how you felt?
- Avoid health complications: A bad posture results in several complications over time, such as increased risks of slipped disc, back aches, back pain, pressure inside your chest, poor blood circulation. When I was studying in business school, I had a professor back who suffered from a slipped disc when he was younger. Unfortunately, he can’t straighten his back ever since the incident and he now walks with a permanent slouch.
So, what makes up a good posture then? Having a good posture does not mean keeping your spine totally straight:
Quote: I used to have that misconception and it deterred me from keeping a good posture since it was just so tiring having to keep my back so straight all the time. If you feel it is exhausting whenever you try to maintain a good posture, it’s probably because you are trying to keep your back fully straight. Trying to keep your back/spine fully straight is actually as detrimental to your back as a slouched posture. By constantly tightening your back muscles, you end up straining it in the process.
A good posture means maintaining the two natural curves at your back – (1) the concave curve from the base of your head to your shoulders and (2) the concave curve from your upper back to the base of your spine. It’s like the shape of 2 C’s on your back.
When you are in the right posture, it should feel almost effortless to maintain the position. When you stand, your weight of your body should be evenly distributed across the balls of feet (not the heels or the front).
For the whole of this week, see if you can maintain a good posture. After that, be sure to keep up with this habit for the remaining 5 weeks of the 21NLS challenge.