Posture can impact our health in many ways, from digestion, pain levels, mood, and even lung capacity. New studies demonstrate that posture may also impact people’s ability to drop pounds, how much water weight they hold, and energy levels that impact their stamina.
As we shared on Monday’s post, poor posture can lead to fatigue for a variety of reasons. Decreased lung capacity leaves the body unable to move oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, resulting in lower energy levels. When the heart has to work harder to move blood through the body due to bad posture, that results in fatigue as well as other, more serious concerns. One of the best ways to improve energy levels and avoid any other health complications related to bad posture is to maintain awareness of how we hold ourselves. Regular exercise and physical activity is key when trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Learning how to manage your body’s energy levels is crucial to stay on track. Improved posture is one way to help support your body in this respect.
While confidence alone won’t help you lose weight, studies have shown that having better posture can boost your confidence. This can motivate you to keep working towards those weight loss goals. Standing tall and maintaining good posture aligns your body, helps your clothes lay better, and thins your frame instantly. The impact of posture shouldn’t be underestimated- good posture has also been shown to improve mood (read more, here)!
Keep off water weight
Water is essential for the human body, and hydration is one of the most important factors behind how well our body operates. Water weight, or extra fluid that is held by the body beyond what is needed for basic functions, can cause weight fluctuations by as much as 2-4 pounds each day. There are many reasons why the body may hold onto the extra fluid, including diet, medications, and some more serious health issues like heart or kidney disease. Water retention can lead to puffiness and bloating in the abdomen, arms, and legs. If these are symptoms you regularly experience, talk to your provider. Most often, water weight (also referred to as edema) is not serious, but most would agree if they could learn to avoid the bloating and discomfort, they would. Turns out, it may be as simple as maintaining better posture.
Olympic sports therapist and posture expert, Aaron Parnell, has discovered that slouching and poor posture can lead to frustrating weight gain. In his lecture “The Hidden Secrets of Beauty and Posture“, presented at a beauty industry conference, Parnell shared, “The body uses fat and water to balance weight, especially on a woman’s body. What happens is: As a woman leans or slouches forward with her upper body (including head, arms and breasts), her lower body, seeks balance by adding extra pounds of water and fat to the hips and thighs.” More research is underway to further explore the details of why the body may respond in this way.
Hormones may play a role
The link between posture and weight became widely known in 2012, after Harvard based Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED talk- which became one of the most watched talks in history. During the TED talk, Cuddy shared information from her 2010 study that linked “powerful poses,” such as having your hands on your hips or holding your chest high, and the subsequent increases in testosterone and drops of cortisol.
Cuddy’s study dove further into a previous study from 2004, which also found that people in specific Yoga poses (like Cobra post, for example) had an increased level of testosterone and less cortisol. The shifts were significant, with participants experiencing as much as a 16% increase in testosterone, which has been found to help increase muscle mass and promote a faster slim down. Study participants also experienced around an 11% decrease in their cortisol levels; cortisol has been shown to inhibit weight loss.
Watch the TED talk below:
Posture seems to be such a simple thing, and is consequently often overlooked as a way to help improve our health. But when study after study shows the benefits of good posture- better circulation, improved mood, decreased pain, better lung function, digestion. . .and weight loss! There’s every reason to watch our posture and reap the benefits.