Take a moment to think about a leader you really admire. If you think harder, I am sure this is a person who exudes confidence and brilliance, and much of that is reflected in his or her body language. I mean how many exceptional leaders are out there with a slouched posture, right?
There is a lot of evidence that proves that a good posture not only enhances physical fitness, but also deeply impacts our emotional and mental well being. Let us take a closer look at these elements:
Physical health and fitness
Good posture obviously plays a huge role in health and fitness. With the current hectic work lives, where slouching has become a lifestyle choice, the occurrence of early chronic pain cases is also increasing. Being aware of one’s posture and working towards maintaining it can prevent such wear and tear, and help maintain greater flexibility and strength.
A good posture enables the body to be properly aligned and stand naturally straight as it is supposed to. With a proper alignment, the bones, muscles and ligaments function at their best. A good posture also leads to reduced back pain, improves breathing, leads to higher energy levels, better digestion, a healthy spine and razor sharp focus.
According to Sian Beilock, cognitive psychologist and author of Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To, posture affects how we think. And we can shape our thoughts through our physical movements.
Your posture greatly determines your current mental state and psychological well being. A positive attitude is always reflected on the outside. A study from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, found that the way people presented themselves influenced their self esteem and their ability to cope with stress and problem solving skills.
Perhaps this is why a change in posture while feeling lazy – like sitting straight or standing upright is considered as an option to reverse the mental slump. Bodily experiences can significantly impact cognitive and emotional states of people. This becomes even more crucial with age, as people become susceptible to more physical deterioration as they get older. But with the right kind of efforts to maintain a good posture, such as stretching, yoga and other exercises, people can greatly improve their flexibility and rid themselves of the risks that come with an aging body.
Higher productivity at work
We are all overworked. We are always ticking deadlines off our list, and the number of distractions to prevent us from being productive is only increasing. Powering through our daily list of tasks requires discipline. But this can be also fixed with with way you are sitting.
According to Dana Carney, cognitive psychologist and assistant professor at the Haas School of Business, productivity is about giving your brain the message that you are in charge and they you feel good to go. The easiest way to send this signal is by adjusting the position of your body.
Proper posture allows your body to expand and send signals to your brain that you are in a stance of power. This increases testosterone and leads to a productivity boost. The amount of change that you see in testosterone when power poses are engaged is like when you win a game.
Posture definitely matters more than you think and should not be treated as a lost concept. At a personal level, it helps you gain more confidence and reduces stress. At a professional or day to day level, a good posture helps you cast a healthy impression of you to others. So the next time you slouch, think about these benefits and sit straight!