September 16, 2013

Good Posture for Weight Loss

If you are trying to lose weight, watch your posture! Good posture is extremely important for good health. The correct posture not only maintains digestive health, but also helps to build the core abdominal muscles, as well as the back and shoulders.

To know whether you have the correct posture, stand in front of a mirror. Stand up straight, chin up, chest out, stomach in, and shoulders held back. If you draw an imaginary line connecting your ears, shoulders, and hips, they should all fall in the same straight line. Your spine will form a natural S-shape. If you are not used to it, you might feel a little awkward or stiff in the beginning. But keep practicing the correct posture and you will definitely feel good. Practice the same posture when sitting down. Sit with a straight spine, stomach tucked in, and chest out.

Many people go for a walk for exercise, but they ignore their posture when walking. Just walking around will give your heart some exercise, but walking with the correct posture will give all the large muscles in your body a good workout. 

Standing straight will strengthen your lower back. Your body weight will be more evenly distributed and this posture will lift some weight off the lower back. Bad posture is a very common cause of lumbo-sacral (lower back) pain as well as cervical (neck) pain.

Tucking in your abdominal muscles with strengthen them, making them tighter. The more muscles you are able to build in your belly region, the more fat you will eliminate. Just maintaining good posture will help you get started.

Holding your shoulders back will strengthen the muscles of your upper back and neck, which bear the brunt of most of the work you do everyday with your arms. 

To practice:

1. Stand straight against a wall with the back of your head, your shoulders, and your bottom just touching the wall. 
2. Practice walking with a book on your head. This not only helps to improve your balance, but also your posture because you need to stand up straight. Any amount of slouching will make the book fall off. 
3. When you are sitting, imagine a string is attached to your head and pulls you up whenever you slouch.

Did you know that with good posture, comes balance? That is because your body weight is evenly distributed, as I explained earlier. If you play sports that involve balance, like skating, posture is extremely important.

More Tips:

- If you experience back pain or body aches when you practice sitting or standing straight, it might be just your body getting used to the new posture, or because you tighten your muscles too much. Try to relax when doing it and concentrate on keeping your spine straight. Your muscles will follow on their own.
-  Practice yoga. The cat and cow poses are used alternately to strengthen abdominal and back muscles. Padmasana or the lotus pose is very useful in maintaining posture.
- If you have had bad posture for a long time, it will take a while for your body to get used to a new alignment. Have patience and keep practicing. 

Keep your chin up, and take the first step towards a healthier weight!