It’s not only about how the body looks, but how it functions
Steven Weiniger, posture expert and author
We are always concerned with the products we put on our skin or the foods we put in our bodies, but we rarely consider the silent workings that our muscles and bones do, day in, day out. The keyword, here, is posture, a variable that can cost up to three inches to a person’s height and tells a lot about one’s lifestyle and attitude.
“The more your head is forward, the more your body is folding, the more your body is folding, the older you look», says Dr. Steven Weiniger, posture expert and author of the book “Stand Taller Live Longer: an Anti-Aging Strategy”.
The omnipresence of technology is one of the biggest enemies of a healthy posture. When we look at our smartphone, when we forget to take a break during the long hours we spend at the desk, we are training our muscles. If our head is forward - and this happens when we look at a screen - our body becomes shorter and this positions impacts on the whole “system”.
“A muscle imbalance obliges the body to overcompensate,” explains Weiniger.
An unhealthy position is like a session in the gym during which we are shortening some muscles and stretching others. It works like this: when we keep an unhealthy position, we condition our muscles and while we “dive” into a position, the dynamic spirals. This explains the characteristic “C” shape that is a staple sign of aging and that goes along with less flexibility and fluidity in movements. But there’s more:
“It’s not only a matter of how the body looks, it’s also how the body functions”.
A crumpled body, in fact, allows a more limited quantity of air intake. This means that the organs are receiving less oxygen than they would normally do with a correct posture. Getting less oxygen equals to less nutrients for the cells and a less efficient removal of carbon dioxide and other wastes.
“What we do today will have an impact on our body in the long term”.
The sooner we replace old habits with healthier behavior, the better, but in the meanwhile being aware of the position of our body gives us a clearer view of ourselves and our goals. The good news is that you do not need to go to the gym to introduce these changes. You can find some ideas below.
1. Be aware of your posture problems: download the Posture Zone app and take a picture of you every three months to evaluate the change
2. Drink plenty of water: the hydration improves the elasticity of the tissues and this applies to the ones that sustain the spine. Furthermore, the intervertebral discs need to be hydrated to perform their choc-absorbing role
3. When sitting down, set an alarm and take regular breaks every 45-60 minutes for a little walk, a bit of stretching and a drink of some water
4. Tai Chi, yoga and posture exercises can help to correct and even reverse negative changes