How Posture Can Impact Your Health, Social Life, and Professional Success
Your parents may have harassed you about sitting up at the dinner table or standing tall when someone is talking to you. Once again, your parents were right — and in ways that even they may not have known. Poor posture not only wreaks havoc on your musculoskeletal health, but it’s also often the very first thing people notice about you, leading them to form an instant judgment about your personality, your confidence, and even your professional and social success.
Here at Empire Sports & Spine, lead by board-certified chiropractors Dr. Edmund Shockey and Dr. Bart Bargiel, we understand all too well the physical problems that poor posture can cause. But we also want to underscore the importance of good posture by reviewing its effect on other areas of your life.
Here’s what we tell our New York City patients about the impact of good posture.
Align Yourself for Optimum Health
As chiropractors, we understand just how much of an impact your spine can have on the rest of your body. A blockage or misalignment anywhere along your 33 vertebrae can have a cascading effect on your major joints, causing them to go out of alignment (think knees and hips). And your spine is responsible for quite a lot outside of structural support — it also provides passage for your nervous system. This fact can be made painfully clear anytime you have a misalignment in your spine that affects a nerve root, causing symptoms (usually pain) to radiate to your extremities.
Poor posture can also impact your blood flow and the circulation of valuable resources throughout your body. By hunching over, you don’t allow these resources to flow freely, which impedes cellular repair and rebuilding and leads to fatigue and even mood changes.
Your posture is as important standing as it is sitting, especially with handheld devices. Tech neck is fast becoming a major problem as we crunch our cervical spines to look at a tiny screen. Poor screen posture often leads to muscle imbalances that cause neck and shoulder pain and tension headaches.
Stand Proud, First Impressions Count
There’s a fascinating TED talk that was given by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, called “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are.” Dr. Cuddy starts by showing a series of powerful images in the animal kingdom — cobras in striking stance, gorillas standing up and beating their chests, swans with wings spread wide open — and rounded out the images with Wonder Woman standing tall with her hands on her hips.
These are all power poses, which are designed to, in an instant, speak volumes about who you are and how people should treat you.
When you enter a room and take a seat, studies show that those who do so by taking up the most space — walking tall into the middle of the room and then sitting down with their backs straight and their hands out — are those with power. In fact, these people were described with adjectives like “confident,” “authentic,” “enthusiastic,” “passionate,” and “captivating,” and this is all before the person opens their mouth to speak.
These first impressions can make all the difference when it comes to your professional life as well as your social life. So the next time you head into a board meeting or meet up on a date, try throwing your shoulders back and lifting your chin to stand a little taller. You’ll deliver a very strong message before you even say “Hello.”
The hormones have it
Striking a power pose by standing or sitting with your spine straight and your head lifted can actually have a hormonal impact. Many of your behaviors are governed by testosterone (assertiveness) and cortisol (stress). In powerful people, testosterone levels are high and cortisol levels are low, and this balance tips the other way in the meek.
When you strike a power pose, you can influence your brain and hormone levels; your testosterone goes up and your cortisol drops.
Now for the good part: correcting your posture. To start, we realign your spine through manual adjustments, and then we help you with long-term success by strengthening the muscles in your back. We achieve this through a program of physical therapy and therapeutic massage that targets your posture, restores your blood flow, and keeps your back more in balance. Between regular adjustments and this individualized strengthening program, you’ll be standing and sitting taller in no time — and reaping the physical, social, and professional benefits.
To get started on a posture assessment, give us a call or use the online scheduling tool.
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