Did you know that in LESS THAN ONE SECOND you can:
– reduce your waist by up to 2 inches?
– flatten your belly instantly?
– gain as much as 2 inches in height?
– lower your blood pressure?
– increase your aerobic capacity by as much as 25%?
– restructure the way your body looks?
– set your body to actually begin “spot reduction” of body fat!?
How? It’s simple!
STAND UP STRAIGHT! SIT UP STRAIGHT!
When you slouch, here’s what happens:
Your hips push forward and your lower back excessively curves inward causing your internal organs to push out as much as 2 inches (causing “tummy bulge”). The bottom third of your lungs compress and receive very little air. Your heart also compresses and has to work harder to beat. Your aorta becomes bent and compressed, so the heart has to beat even harder to push blood through it. Excessively poor posture causes your thighs to become disproportionately large. Your glutes lose their firmness. Your lower back muscles atrophy and upper back muscles become rounded and constantly tense, causing constant tension on your neck and shoulder muscles. Your shoulders fall slightly forward, causing your neck muscles to be constantly tense and your neck discs become compressed. You get frequent headaches, your head falls forward, and your chin tilts too far up.
The long-term effects of poor posture are terrible. You may suffer from lower back pain, neck pain, digestive problems, or respiratory problems.
Poor posture can wreak havoc on your appearance, too. People with poor posture do not typically have a confident look to them. Alternatively, lean, fit people with good posture appear confident, feel less fatigue while sitting and standing, ache less, and are aware of the effect their posture has on their health and their appearance.
A lack of flexibility—and to a slightly lesser extent, strength—is directly related to your posture. Poor posture leads to both tight hamstring and front hip muscles, and your lower back muscles can become tight, too. As your muscles become tighter, your posture gets worse. As your posture gets worse, your muscles become even tighter. It becomes a never-ending cycle.
So, how do you fix bad posture? Working on strength and flexibility is a good start, but, to improve your posture, you need to constantly be aware of it. Just like with eating, you have to practice good habits.
You will also need to retrain your muscles. At first, some of your muscles will ache and may be a little sore. This is a good sign—your muscles are learning new positions, and after a few days, your muscles will be used to the new posture. You will begin to breathe better. You will feel less physical fatigue sitting and standing. Eventually, your body will start to feel uncomfortable if you return to the poor posture.
Your body is a system of levers—a structural unit, like a building or a bridge. It has a system of balances and counterbalances that help it stand, sit, and move about. Change any part of that structure and it could fall apart. Fortunately, the human body is an adaptive mechanism. When poor posture occurs over a few months or years, the human body must balance itself according to that position. It will actually add fat and add or take away muscle to very specific areas, just like engineers have to add to areas of a structure that may be unstable to keep its balance. With poor posture your body will bloat the size of your thighs and remove muscle from your glutes (the cause of “saggy butt”), chest, and shoulders. It will add fat to your belly to counterbalance your hips.
Before, I mentioned that good posture could actually promote spot reduction of fat. This doesn’t mean that you can choose where to lose fat, but it does mean that it might be easier to lose fat in certain areas on your body. Ongoing research in New Zealand, Australia, The Netherlands, and Sweden has revealed that enhancing posture will actually reduce stored body fat in very specific areas like the abdominals, hips, thighs, and waist, while not changing other areas. Coincidentally, these are the areas with which people seem to be the most concerned when it comes to losing fat.
Observe the people around you that have bad posture. Look for common body structures. Then, try observing people that have good posture. They, too, have common body structures.
Are you sitting up straight right now? Practice this skill for a few months to feel and see the difference that good posture can make.