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With new research revealing the links between posture and mood, Dr Liam McLaughlin explains the importance of holding our bodies correctly for a healthy, happy lifestyle.

Posture

At DFC one of the topics we frequently discuss is posture. It’s a word that’s often thrown about with many wondering if posture is just a case of standing up a bit straighter.

The truth is there’s more to posture than the way we sit at a desk, lie in our beds, slouch on the sofa or perform any number of everyday activities. Good posture is the correct alignment of our bodies and key to a healthy spine, which is why it makes sense that if we improve the way we hold ourselves, good health is sure to follow.

The truth is there’s more to posture than the way we sit at a desk, lie in our beds, slouch on the sofa or perform any number of everyday activities

Walking Tall

So naturally we were delighted to read the latest research from experts at Northwestern University in Illinois, USA, that show posture doesn’t just affect our physical health but also our mood.

Researchers surveyed their students and discovered that when they hunched over their desks they angled their bodies toward the ground, sending their emotions plummeting along with their enthusiasm for finishing their latest essay.

Keen to take these findings further, the university’s chief psychologist, Mark Reinecke encouraged his patients to stand with one foot forward and their chests out. When Mark asked each of them how they felt standing in that position, the answer was always the same – powerful, confident and capable.

When we don’t hold our bodies correctly with muscles, bones and internal organs completely supported, we place extra pressure on our spines

The research backs up what we’ve known in the practice for some time, that if you hold yourself properly then you allow your body and spine to work as they should, leading to improved health, both mentally and physically.

When we don’t hold our bodies correctly with muscles, bones and internal organs completely supported, we place extra pressure on our spines.

This can lead to health complications such as fatigue, headaches, tension and joint problems, along with a reduction in the efficiency of our livers and kidneys. Of course, the big question is how do we perfect our posture?

Four Steps

The answer is it takes work, but it’s something you can start to achieve at home with the Yes/No /Maybe routine.

This four-step daily practice only takes a few minutes and allows your neck and low back to experience a full range of motion which many of us don’t achieve on an everyday basis.

1. Start by standing with your feet hip width apart and eyes forward.

2. Slowly move your chin to the chest and then back up to the ceiling as though you’re nodding yes.

3. Next turn your head by looking over one shoulder as far as you (as if saying ‘No’), repeat on the other side.

4. Finally return to the start position with your eyes forward and tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder (as if saying ‘maybe’), repeat on the other side.

 

Edited by Fiona Ford