Most of us do not even realize the constant battle that our body has to fight to keep us walking tall with dignity on a daily basis. Whether it is the onslaught of disease, injury, poor nutrition, stress, weak muscles, emotional baggage, imprudent lifestyle or merely improper shoes, our body takes these hits in stride to keep us moving and functional, albeit with a compromise manifested in poor body language. A time comes when your body gives in and you find yourself with recurrent neck, shoulder or back pain. Once your posture gets misaligned, it sticks to you like a leech and you carry it right with you into all the physical activities.
This can wreck the quality of your life at a much deeper level than you think.
For starters, you cannot get out of postural problems easily. They have no easy fixes. On the other hand, they do have dire consequences.
- Bad posture keeps you miserable, all the time:
Slouching puts a strain on your lungs and your breathing gets shallow. The faster the lungs have to work, the greater they tax the heart as it struggles to meet with enough blood supply to transport oxygen. This goes to generate high blood pressure that only goes to amplify stress and anxiety, further eroding your self-confidence bit by bit.
- It kills your impact and influence:
A simple gesture of throwing your head forward and drooping shoulders generates a cascade of structural flaws in your body language where you appear shorter, weaker, unsure of yourself and stiff. It is no surprise that it discourages others from viewing you as somebody of significance, preventing you from getting your due in your professional and personal life.
- It slays your vigor and vitality:
How efficiently our bodies sustain themselves is determined primarily by good blood circulation which is responsible for transporting fluids and gases to all our vital organs. Once the blood circulation starts slowing down due to prolonged sitting, your energy levels drop significantly, impeding your productivity and competence.
- Forward head and rounded shoulders slow your gut to the point of slowing down your life:
Constantly crouching forward, more than usual tucks your intestines tight preventing you from staying regular. A sluggish gut holds back timely release and absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream which holds you back from a living a full life on a daily basis.
No matter how pressing the demands of the modern lifestyle might be to slouch and stoop over smart phones, laptops, computers and television screens, there are ways to recover our natural body mechanics by finding joy in physical movement and investing at least a few minutes every day to undo the damage we are prone to do to ourselves. It is totally worth the effort!
According to a study conducted by NASA on the physiological effects of inactivity, a sedentary lifestyle significantly aggravates the degeneration of postural reflexes. Our bodies adapt to external stress of just about any form, which explains the enhanced endurance, improved body language and grace that comes from systematically applied rigors of resistance training, Yoga or Pilates.
However, studies claim that the vice-versa is also equally true. Inactivity will wither and waste away our natural strength just as quickly.
Hence, a simple solution to walking tall might be to do more with your body. As you find joy and pride that comes with accomplishing a new physical skill; be it dancing, rowing, swimming, learning a new sport or a new form of exercise, the body upgrades its physical response and coordination to create the required tenacity.
There is also an indisputable connection between posture and emotions. As much as the emotional state is visible in one’s body language, the reverse is also true. If you curtail your agility by avoiding simple physical acts of taking the stairs or walking nearby to run an errand, you must remind yourself that you are also cutting short a part of your emotional resilience. Limited mobility causes limited mental flexibility.
If you want to empower yourself with a greater sense of control and clear your head in times of stress, simply start with sitting up straight and taking a few deep breaths.
When the going gets tough, make it a point to raise your chest and look ahead. This simple gesture will improve your concentration, get you focused on resolving the issue and might even make your mind believe that things are not that bad yet. You are still strong enough to handle it.