May is Posture Month. Students can improve their overall health with good posture. (Heraldpost/Flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0 license)
A balanced diet and adequate exercise are key components to keeping a person healthy, but there is another factor when it comes to one’s wellness.
May is National Correct Posture Month and there is much more to the event than just sitting properly in a chair. Having good posture can lead to significant health benefits such as a longer lifespan as well as less back and neck pain.
According to postureimprove.com, when the body is aligned correctly, the muscles and ligaments in the back are less overworked and prevent excessive strain on the spinal discs.
This is especially important for people who tend to carry heavy objects such as backpacks. In a January 2004 study by Harvard University, children and teens that have a lot of weight distributed in their backpacks can experience muscle fatigue. From that fatigue, their posture can be greatly affected and can cause problems such as scoliosis, a disease that causes the person’s spine to curve side to side.
In terms of mental wellness, having good posture can also empower one’s self confidence. If a person is able to maintain a straight alignment in the back, then people perceive the individual as being assertive and possessing authority.
“When you open up your body and take up more space, this activates the sense of power,” according to Adam Galinsky and Deborah Gruenfeld of the Kellogg School of Management. “This directly affects the way you think and act. Feeling powerful helps you take responsibility, take action and make powerful decisions.”
In addition, when a person has a straight back, it creates the illusion of the individual being taller and slimmer in contrast to those who are slouching.
However, standing around and sitting straight in chairs is not the only ways one can possess a suitable posture. There are exercises out there that can help one achieve an improved spinal alignment and they can range from light activities to hardcore physical acts. Among such exercises, Pilates is known to be one of the best methods when it comes to improving a person’s posture.
Karen Jacobsen, a Pilates instructor at Saddleback, has been teaching the course for eight to nine years. She had an injury and had to strengthen her body to improve her wellness. In the process, Jacobsen fell in love with the program and eventually earned her certification to teach Pilates. Today, Jacobsen teaches college students how to improve the strength of their core muscles to achieve optimal fitness.
“Pilates helps strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor, which helps to hold the spine muscles,” Jacobsen said. “By improving the core muscles, the person’s back will be more aligned.”
Jacobsen also added that having a good posture can aid with bone strength, which can ease issues such as back pain as well as bringing in more energy.