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You may have heard the saying that ‘sitting is the new smoking’. It is so important for us to move our bodies regularly for all of the important health benefits that come with this. Prolonged static postures like sitting, have been proven to increase our risk of diabetes, heart disease, even digestive issues and other chronic conditions.
We of course more typically will fall into less than ideal posture when we are stuck sitting for prolonged periods of time, but good posture can also be taken into how we stand, walk, and even how we exercise.
Here are 3 reasons why being more aware of our posture throughout the day might help improve our health and wellbeing for both out body and mind:
The diaphragm, a muscle located just below the lungs, is highly involved in the breathing process. It descends as we inhale, and then recoils back up as we exhale. If we have less than ideal posture and we are slumped through the middle back, this compromises the diaphragm’s ability to do its job properly. As a result, poor posture can affect our ability to perform a full relaxed breath in and out.
Full relaxed breaths are important in order to help the body activate what is called the ‘parasympathetic nervous system’ which helps keep the body (and therefore mind) stay more composed and more relaxed. Improved posture can mean more balanced breathing.
Being slouched at a desk for prolonged periods of time can increase the load and therefore tension and strain in certain major muscle groups, particularly around the neck and lower back that can cause ongoing discomfort. Becoming more aware of our posture can help to ensure that we remain more balanced throughout the day and leave us feeling better and not worse.
An interesting article by the American Psychological Association suggested that ‘muscular states are related to emotions’. In this study, half of the participants were placed in a group where they were provided support to be in better posture, and half were not. The purpose of the study was to determine whether better posture improved stress responses. The participants who were in the better posture group overall reported a better mood and higher self esteem than the slumped participants, in the face of stress.
So the moral seems to be that being mindful of our posture throughout the day can have huge benefits for our bodies but also possibly for our minds! Just one more reason why we should keep up with our KIC fitness and Pilates – not that we really need another reason though, do we?
Much love, Mari x