These aren't before or after shots, these are some pictrures demonstrating something we see all too often.
On the left is the posture of long-term SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE (aka the central nervous systems code for STRESS).
The shoulders are rounded in an attempt to protect the chest and heart and ready to fight, the head is forward, ready to run.
Physically compared to the right picture, we start to look weaker, the stomach protrudes and the chest goes into hiding! Plus, standing like this for any amount of time actually feels horrible!
The reality is that many of us need to sit, be bent over etc. for our jobs/lifestyle, so awareness of what your body is doing and how it's performing is probably the first step in changing your posture.
When the posture of sympathetic dominance is present, the lumbar lordosis (lower back curve) increases, so people with this posture almost always have, or almost always will develop some form of lower back challenge. This is because the facet joints in the lower back are imbricated (jammed together). Also, with the shoulders rounded forward like this it reduces the space needed for proper movement, this has the potential to cause all sorts of shoulder issues; bursitis, tendinopathies and rotator cuff issues. Not to mention the immense amount of strain it places on the shoulders and neck.
These are just some of the musculoskeletal implications - what about certain organ systems that are affected by sympathetic dominance? If your body is in fight/flight or STRESS mode, how well do we breathe? How well do we digest? How can we possibly expect to be vital, energetic, sleeping well, patient/kind to others, full of life?
Your posture - it's more than just how you look, it's a result of your body's response to your LIFE.
We've found the top 3 ways to improve your posture are:
Try shoulder stretching in the doorway, or lying on a raised roll with your arms overhead. If you lift weights try exercises that PULL (Eg. lat pulldowns, seated rows, pull ups, back extension raises) to strengthen your back body and encourage great posture. Yoga and pilates can also be great at targeting the posterior chain (your back body).
Diaphragmatic breathing down-regulates our sympathetic nervous system - which, as you've just read plays a huge role in the postural changes indicated above. In fact, diaphragmatic breathing is thought to be the only way that we are consciously aware of to activate our PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System). If you aren't sure how, just google 'diaphragmatic breathing', or read our blog here
Get regularly adjusted by a Chiropractor:
Here’s what we know. It’s impossible to separate the structure and function of your spine from the structure and function of your nervous system. What that means is that dysfunctional joints in your spine (joints that don’t move in the way they should, also known as subluxations) will interfere with the function of your nervous system and result in compromised function of your body. The chiropractic adjustment addresses this relationship to restore your function, which incidentally has a huge effect on your posture. You can read more here.