Healthy Posture, Healthy Body

Healthy posture is essential to our health, wellness, fitness, and flexibility. Not only does good posture make you look better, it makes you feel better. Besides, there are a multitude of health benefits that you can reap from practicing good posture. Consequently, there are a myriad of detrimental effects that can result from poor posture. Let’s start with the bad news so we can end on a high note.

“Poor posture” is typically associated with a slumped spine, rounded shoulders, and a forward head position. This posture makes us appear timid, tired, aged, and like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. I guess that’s something we can all relate to after the year we’ve just had, as well as the fact that we have literally been glued to our computers for work, school, social interaction, and even exercise classes.

But, the laundry list of potential health problems if we maintain this posture is even more frightening than 2020 was. They include loss of bone density which can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis, impaired balance, falls, and bone fractures. Additional musculoskeletal problems include hip, knee, shoulder and neck pain, as well as joint dysfunction caused by the abnormal forces of gravity going through our skeleton. Heart problems, respiratory, and digestive disorders can occur from the increased pressure put on our internal organs. Yikes!

Now here’s the good news. Our spine and our skeleton are beautifully designed to direct the forces of gravity through our body in an easy and effortless manner. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t our muscles that hold us up and carry us through space–it is our skeleton. “Good posture” is typically associated with a straight spine, shoulders down and back, and a lifted head. This posture makes us appear strong, confident, energetic, and youthful, no matter how old we might be.

But here’s even better news. When you have good posture, you stand and walk more comfortably, and you have better balance, energy, and endurance. You stand taller, look longer and leaner (and who doesn’t want that?), and you breathe better. But here is the best news ever. When you have good posture, your core muscles automatically engage, making your abdominal muscles stronger, giving you a pathway or a roadmap to a flatter tummy and smaller waistline. But I’ll save that topic at another time.

So, think about your posture, and take steps to work on it, because healthy posture is a healthy body.

Excerpt from “Forever Fit and Flexible: Feeling Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond.”