Posture and body language - how to improve our lives by the way we hold our bodies.
It’s a well known fact that the way we feel affects the way we hold ourselves - our body language.
What if I was to tell you that the same is also true the opposite way around. The way we hold ourselves also alters the way we feel and express ourselves.
Studies show that just 2 minutes in a pose that gives the impression of power, such as standing like superman with wide legs, your hands on your hips, chest high and chin up, can drastically improve your chances of getting that job you are about to interview for or ace the exam you are about to sit.
Give it a go!
If you are waiting to be called in for an exam or your driving test for example and you sit in a closed position with your arms crossed over, one hand on your neck, ankles crossed whilst looking at the floor, you will not be doing yourself any favours in terms of succeeding in the upcoming task.
Also try this and notice how it makes you feel.
In other words improving our posture can not only improve the way our body feels and eliminate pain but it can also help us become more successful in the things we spend our time doing and aspire to achieve.
How your shoes could be destroying your chances of good posture
Most shoes nowadays have a heel on them, whether its a pair of Sex and the City styled high heels or your everyday trainers. It’s rare to come across a regular shoe that doesn’t have any kind of lift at the heel.
Why does this matter?
Our bodies are designed to stack naturally. From head to toe our body should stack quite comfortably, one body part on the other in a relatively straight line.
When we put shoes on with a heel lift of any size, our body must adapt in order to remain upright, if it didn’t we would all be walking around leaning forward or falling flat on our faces.
The FOUR main things that change with our posture when wearing shoes with a heel lift,
Our knees remain bent when walking
Our bums stick out
Our chest sticks forward
Our chins stick out forward slightly
These small adjustments made by the body are a response to the unnatural heal in our shoes.
Lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain, toe pain, neck and shoulder pain. All of the above can be caused or triggered in some way by our shoes.
OKAY I get it, so what can I do?
One of the best things you can do is to become aware. Start noticing your posture and where you can make changes when you don’t have shoes on. Start looking at others when you are out and about or standing in the queue at the supermarket. You will be amazed at how visible it is on others now you know what you are looking for.
Secondly, start walking round the house and garden bare foot as much as possible. Take off your slippers and socks as much as you possibly can.
Get your feet moving again by manipulating them. Simply grab one foot at a time and start pulling it about. Pull your toes apart in all directions, twist your foot, with your toes tucked under and knees on the floor, sit back on your heels and stretch your feet out.
All of these things will help to regain the natural movement in your feet and remind them that they can still move at all the joints using all the muscles in each foot.
If like me you want to take it a step further, you can invest in some barefoot shoes like the ones you can buy from Vivo Barefoot. These shoes are specifically designed to allow your foot to function correctly whilst offering protection. A good barefoot shoe should be flexible in all directions, have no heel lift and have a wide toe block to allow your toes to spread, unlike conventional shoes that cram our toes together into a point.
Take care of your feet and all other areas of the body will follow suit.
When you walk barefoot, try to walk with you belt buckle forward to encourage hip extension and think about pulling your toes up towards your face to encourage heel striking.
Our hips play a huge role in the optimal function of the body, watch this space for video tutorials on how to stretch out your hips and encourage hip extension.
But for now the best thing you can do is SIT LESS. Standing as much as you can instead of sitting wherever possible will do wonders for your posture (especially if you are bare foot). Get up from your desk regularly to extend your hips or better yet create a standing desk. Stand on the tube or bus, walk to the shop instead of driving, the list goes on.
To learn more about how simple lifestyle changes done consistently can transform your life, get in touch to start working with one of our coaches.
LAB Coaching - Lifestyle and behaviour coaching with a focus on creating healthy habits.