Stand Tall and Succeed.
Written by Jordana Colomby
You can’t think yourself into better posture with constant reminders to sit up straight. Contrary to popular belief, bad posture can’t be fixed with mindfulness. “It’s about enabling the tight muscles to loosen and the joints that aren’t moving well to be balanced so that you’re naturally in a good posture and not forcing it,” says Dr. Liza Egbogah, manual osteopath.
Located in the core of Toronto’s financial district, Dr. Liza’s office, the[fix], is a well-known spot among CEOs and high-ranking business officials. Whether they’re coming in for a weekly adjustment or a quarterly myofascial release, one thing they all have in common is that they know how to prioritize their health, according to Dr. Liza. After seeing accomplished businessmen and women on a daily basis and creating a lucrative practice of her own, it’s safe to say Dr. Liza knows what success looks like: back straight, shoulders back, and chest open. And it’s not a coincidence that these breadwinners and go-getters all have proper posture. According to Dr. Liza, good posture can actually boost success in the workplace and at home.
Success in the workplace
Dr. Liza points to multiple studies which show people with better posture are more likely to land the job and make more money than those with poor posture. Part of the reason is perception. Those who slouch come across less motivated, less confident and less successful than their straight-standing peers. But it also has to do with hormone levels. Standing or sitting in an upright or “power posture” as Dr. Liza calls it, for about half an hour can raise testosterone levels, the confidence hormone.
“When you have poor posture for twnety to thirty minutes, that can actually increase your cortisol levels [stress hormone] by twenty to twenty-five percent,” says Dr. Liza. Increasing stress levels instead of increasing confidence levels can lead to looking depressed around the office and not being able to perform your best at work. Don’t miss out on the next promotion or raise because of bad posture.
One of Dr. Liza’s tips for a better back at work is to do a stretch to open the chest by interlocking the fingers behind the head and opening the elbows. It’s simple, effective and discreet, as to not attract too many strange looks from co-workers. See below.
Success in relationships
Good posture can also bring about success in the dating world, both in real life and online. Dr. Liza says studies show that on dating apps, “people who have that open posture are more likely to get many more responses than those who had a closed posture.” The exact same person in two different pictures, one slouched and one upright, will get two different responses from a prospective mate. The upright photograph will always appear more attractive because better posture is attractive. Men and women naturally find the opposite sex more attractive when they have good posture, says Dr. Liza.
“It’s because of hormones but it’s also because of viability,” says Dr. Liza. “When you have better posture that means you’re healthier.” Men instinctively want a woman who can reproduce and women instinctively want a man who can provide for the family. Because of these innate desires, Dr. Liza says people seek out mates who are healthy and strong, and good posture denotes those qualities. “In your personal life you’re going to attract more people, it’s going to open up your pool when you have good posture.”
The exercise below opens up the pectoral muscles which are usually contracted and pulling the shoulders forward into a hunching position. To open up the chest, interlock the fingers, this time below the back, and pull the shoulders back, squeezing the shoulder blades together.
Improving your posture, improving your life
Besides exuding confidence, a better posture will also help the body feel its best and consequently, perform its best. Dr. Liza says a lot of people attribute higher rates of anxiety to technology, but she sees it a bit differently. Studies show anxiety rates are going up because of tech use, but I don’t beleive it’s just the use of the tech, I think it’s their posture in general.” When you are caved in [over the phone or computer], you don’t have full expansion of your lungs, which means you’re not fully oxygenating your lungs,” she says.
That sends feedback back to the brain saying there’s not enough air and that results in anxiety. Dr. Liza says opening up the chest and allowing deeper breaths helps many people with their anxiety, in some cases, they can even ditch the anxiety meds.
Better posture leads to a clearer mind, which ultimately leads to success.