E19: Stop The Slouch: 5 Sneaky Ways Weak Posture Is Stealing Your Vitality

Are you tired of feeling like the Hunchback of Notre Dame after a long day at your desk? The slouch is REAL! Especially if you're like most people who spend 6 or more hours everyday sitting.

In honor of posture and mental health month (May) we're chatting about the real deal behind weak posture and its sneaky effects on your vitality.

So do yourself a favor, grab your Earpods and get up and move as we dive into:

  • Exploring the Vital Contrast Between Strong and Weak Posture
  • How Your Posture Influences Your Lifespan and Happiness
  • Maximizing Performance and Success with Improved Alignment Of Your Body And Being

Ready for a posture pick me up? Grab my free 5 minute Tone Your Tushy & Triceps Workout here: https://www.megan-nolan.com/tushy 

 

Please find the show notes below. Since it is a transcription there may be spelling errors and/or weird grammar. Ignore that and enjoy!

00;00;00;20 - 00;00;22;12
Speaker 1
Hello and welcome to a movement of people who care so much about how they feel that they make time for themselves every day. I'm the leader of this movement and the host of this podcast, and my name is Meghan Nolan. I am a wellness coach for purpose driven Entrepreneurs and women on a mission, and I am all about.

00;00;22;15 - 00;00;34;20
Speaker 2
Helping you to be healthy, happy and sustainably successful. So let's jump in to today's episode that will help you to do that.

00;00;34;23 - 00;00;36;12
Speaker 1
Oh, hey.

00;00;36;12 - 00;01;05;16
Speaker 2
It's Meghan and it's me, which means it is both Postural Awareness Month and and Mental Health Awareness Month. And although those things may seem separate, they are not. They absolutely intertwine and they absolutely affect each other. And that's what we're going to be talking about today. We're going to be talking about five sneaky ways that weak posture might be stealing your joy and sabotaging your success in your progress in your life and in your business.

00;01;05;23 - 00;01;27;28
Speaker 2
But before we jump into those five, I recorded a brand new five minute workout for you to tone and tighten your tushy and triceps and help you to feel calm and confident and strong and energized in your body. And of course, strengthen your posture at the same time. But I would love to share that with you. I'd love for you to check that out.

00;01;27;28 - 00;01;43;00
Speaker 2
So the link to grab that free five minute workout is in the show notes. So make sure to grab that because you're going to love it. It's a fun and fast way to get things moving and get everything fired up and a little perked up, if you know what I mean. So, yes, grab that as my special gift for you.

00;01;43;03 - 00;02;13;19
Speaker 2
So let's talk about the sneaky ways that weak posture might be affecting your life, your health, your happiness, your productivity. So you'll notice that I don't call it bad posture because there is I don't think we need to call it bad and good posture. It's either strong or it's weak because posture is in reference to the alignment of your spine and the natural neutral s curvature of your spine.

00;02;13;22 - 00;02;35;22
Speaker 2
However, in our modern life, which is a direct contributor to this week posture that we're talking about, we spend a lot of time sitting down and a lot of that time is engaged with something in front of us. So usually that's some sort of device, whether it's a phone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop, a car, a fork, a spoon, what have you.

00;02;35;24 - 00;03;02;29
Speaker 2
We tend to spend a lot of time sitting, which causes hip flexion compression in the lower back. It can cause numbness in the legs and feet. It tends to cause a rounding of the shoulders and a forward head posture, all of which fall in the category of a weak posture. And what we posture doesn't just refer to when we're sitting, because it translates to your standing posture as you're moving your dancing, everything.

00;03;03;01 - 00;03;28;02
Speaker 2
And so that weak posture is more that posture of that slouched or slumped, rounded over, which you you know, I'm sure you can fully see it in your mind's eye. You know what? It looks like you felt it in your body. And here's the thing that we're starting to see. The American Passive Posture Institute did an incredible training recently that just literally blew my mind.

00;03;28;02 - 00;04;01;03
Speaker 2
And they were talking about how posture is declining at the rate of technological advances. So the more our technology advances, the weaker and weaker our posture is getting because humans are not designed to sit and be sedentary, were designed to be up and moving and adapting to the challenges that life presents us physically and emotionally. And that helps us to move into all of these different ranges of motion with less, with more ease and less or ideally no pain.

00;04;01;05 - 00;04;32;11
Speaker 2
And so when you're able to adapt and rebound and stay in strong posture and be able to create and generate strength and energy, that is a strong posture, right? So strong posture is often what you would kind of associate with that sort of upright, open chest lifted. Looking forward, walking tall, confident, vibrant, magnetic sort of personality that we you know, we you felt in your body at many times I open and often and frequently.

00;04;32;13 - 00;05;01;19
Speaker 2
And so what we're looking to do is spend more time in that stronger posture. And ideally less and no time in we posture, although, you know, admittedly because of primarily because of the way our life is in our modern society, at least in Western cultures, I can't speak to all cultures all around the world, but most of us, especially online business owners and even brick and mortar business owners, we spend a lot of time sitting down, whether that's commuting or working at your desk.

00;05;01;22 - 00;05;33;01
Speaker 2
And so what we want to think about is how can you bring more awareness to your posture so that you are spending more time in this upright, open, rounded, confident, elegant, dare I say, posture that is ideal, right? It's a stronger alignment. So what we're going to talk about are the five different ways that it might be playing into your life that you maybe haven't recognized yet until now.

00;05;33;01 - 00;05;59;20
Speaker 2
And we're going to talk about how we can begin to shift that. So let's go right into that connection between posture and mental health. So it's really not a far stretch when you think about it. If I asked you to picture the posture of someone who is sad or defeated or tired, you would probably go right into a slouched posture, rounded shoulders forward, head, right.

00;05;59;22 - 00;06;25;13
Speaker 2
We don't I don't want you to do it, because that's a weaker posture that might cause pain. But the the contrast to that is, is if you explained or even went into posture, who someone of someone who just had a really amazing call or really amazing session who's feeling very victorious, who's feeling happy, who's feeling energized, it's a much more upright, open, stronger posture.

00;06;25;16 - 00;06;48;27
Speaker 2
Right. And so there is a direct link between your posture and your mood. And they have an ongoing cycle of communication right by way of your vagus nerve, which is the main nerve of your nervous system, specifically your parasympathetic nervous system. Your brain and your body are in constant communication. Interesting to know because this is a two way highway.

00;06;48;29 - 00;07;16;20
Speaker 2
There's more information going from your body up to your brain than the other way around. I thought it would be vice versa, that your brain would be telling your body more, know your body is constantly communicating with a lot more frequency to your brain. And so that means when you are in a slouched posture, although you may not feel particularly sad or defeated, you're just working on your computer and you're really focused on what you're doing.

00;07;16;21 - 00;07;56;25
Speaker 2
You slouched over your body is signaling a weak, slouched posture, which is directly correlated to a more lower energy, a sense of tiredness, maybe a sense of kind of, oh, not having a lot of energy that can be associated with sadness or depression or a sense of overwhelming sense of defeat. And so the the opposite is true is if you are consciously making the choice to feel happier, to feel more energized, you can initiate that by opening up your body, moving into strong posture.

00;07;56;25 - 00;08;21;05
Speaker 2
And that sends the electromagnetic signals through your body by way of your nervous system, by way of your chemical cascade, of your different neurochemicals and to your muscles. It sends the signal of happiness and joy because you're uplifting, you're opening yourself up. And so whether you know it or not, when you're in that weak posture and you're spending more and more time, it can take a toll on your emotional health.

00;08;21;08 - 00;08;57;13
Speaker 2
And so that has to do with the second point we'll get to in a minute. But interestingly enough, when people go to certain doctors that look at things from a more holistic perspective, if someone has that rounded, weak, slouched posture, it's a potential sign and symptom of mental health challenges. And so we want to make sure that as much as you can, you are moving back into strong posture so that you are not inadvertently signaling that defeated energy of sadness or heaviness by way of your posture into your brain.

00;08;57;16 - 00;09;24;26
Speaker 2
So this is called embodied physiology. So you can change your emotional state by changing your physical state is really to sum it up. And a lot of that has to do with the second way that posture might be affecting you. So when you are in a weak collapsed posture, everything drops and is compressed. So that's maybe why you start to experience lower back pain or nerve compression in your legs and your feet.

00;09;24;28 - 00;09;51;02
Speaker 2
But it's certainly why if you were to do it right now and don't overdo it, but just let your shoulders drop down a little bit, let your chest drop. Is it easy for you to breathe deeply right now? Okay, so take a deep breath or try to And now lift your belly, Feel your spine like that up, relax your shoulders back.

00;09;51;02 - 00;10;15;07
Speaker 2
Move your head back a little bit. And now try again. You might notice in that more upright, stronger posture, it's a lot easier for you to breathe deeply. And we know that your breath is the carrier of your prana, a vital life force, energy, oxygen, nutrients, all of those things throughout your entire body and up to your brain.

00;10;15;10 - 00;10;55;03
Speaker 2
But when you are in a weak, collapsed posture, it decreases your lung capacity. So your ability to take a deep breath by upwards of 30%, which is pretty significant when it comes to a life sustaining sexual nutrient, right, is pretty significant. So when you're in that weak posture and you're trying to breathe, your body recruits the secondary backup dancers or the backup team for breathing because you're to collapse your diaphragm, which is your main breathing muscle that wraps around the full circumference of the bottom of your rib cage is not able to fully expand and relax because you're squashed right at your collapse.

00;10;55;06 - 00;11;28;18
Speaker 2
But when you are upright and open and you're able to breathe slow, deep breaths, and whether that's aware or not, you just have that ability because the diaphragm can actually move to do its job, you are able to breathe more deeply. So when we are in that collapse posture, when your breath capacity is diminished and you're taking short, shallow breaths, you're triggering the muscles of the neck and shoulders, which are the backup team right there, the backup dancers, if you will, for breathing, which are already tight because you're in that weak forward head posture.

00;11;28;20 - 00;11;58;12
Speaker 2
What happens there is you're breathing in a stressed pattern. When we are stressed, when we're in a survival state, we take short, shallow breaths so that we hasten or we kick in the oxygen carbon dioxide exchange. So what's happening there is whether you are, quote unquote, stressed or not, you're triggering more stress. So that triggers more inflammation. It can trigger more tension, it can trigger more irritability, less patients.

00;11;58;18 - 00;12;24;06
Speaker 2
It can then contribute to that anxiety or depression or distractibility or whatever it is. If there's anything that you, you know, you deal with by your unique Constitution or because you're in that weak posture you're triggering because your posture And what happens there is that inadvertently we're triggering more stress. Right. And, you know, and if you don't, you know, now stress is associated with every major chronic disease.

00;12;24;06 - 00;12;42;03
Speaker 2
So no bueno. I think, you know, that point can probably end there. Stress and contributing to disease. That's enough to want us hopefully to motivate you to kind of think, oh, okay, well, maybe a little stronger through posture. So have less stress. Right. And so stress is not your ideal state, right? When we're stressed, we're in the red zone.

00;12;42;03 - 00;13;08;17
Speaker 2
We're in that sort of frantic, frazzled vibe of the worn out woman. So again, when we sit up and we breathe slow, deep breaths, we're sending that signal of safety. Ultimately, we're sending a signal of calm presence, connected awareness. We're cultivating a connection to the present moment. So that's really quite powerful. So when you are in slouch posture and your breath rate is is affected, we're taking short, shallow breaths.

00;13;08;19 - 00;13;46;02
Speaker 2
We tend to have less blood flow throughout the entire body. Right. And so, of course, you're smart. You know that that includes your brain. So here's the technique. Sorry. The second I made up a new word that the third way where it's hard sometimes the third way, that posture might be affecting you. So when we experience that sense of kind of brain fog or if we're feeling stressed or maybe you don't even notice it, but you're in that posture and because you're not breathing properly, we have less oxygen to the body by that potential 30%, we actually see an increase in distractibility.

00;13;46;05 - 00;14;08;10
Speaker 2
We see an increase in forgetfulness, irritability and confusion. All of those things increase. And so that means that there's a higher likelihood to make mistakes. And we know that not only are mistakes costly from a time perspective, they can be costly from a financial and impact perspective, right, depending on the work that you're doing. So that's really important.

00;14;08;12 - 00;14;39;02
Speaker 2
So when we have less blood flow to the brain and the ability to focus and stay present, there's actually another interesting phenomenon that is called digital dementia is that we're so reliant on our devices to do things for us to help with their multitasking. You remember every phone number, all of those things, right? So we actually have a decreased capacity in our brain for memory because we're using external hard drives, if you will, your phone or whatever, to remember those things for you.

00;14;39;05 - 00;14;59;26
Speaker 2
So again, that's just another little side thing that might be affecting you. I know for me, I mean, like I, I when I was younger, I remember I used to know a lot of people's former I think I only really know justit's at this point. You know, that's obviously but that's, you know, it just goes to shells anyways so that's number three.

00;14;59;29 - 00;15;43;07
Speaker 2
Okay. So then the the kind of byproduct of that is if we have less oxygen flow to the brain and we are making more mistakes, we have decreased productivity, etc., etc.. The other thing that can happen there is our creativity is diminished because we're experiencing that brain fog. So when you are not in that flow state and you are feeling either tired or irritable because your body's hurting, because you're in that weak posture, you're having last productivity, less focus, less creativity, because we're in a stressed state right by way of our posture physiologically, by way of your breath, we're triggering stress and we know that when we're under stress, we're more likely to self-sabotage.

00;15;43;08 - 00;16;04;16
Speaker 2
If you have to listen to other episodes, I talk a lot about saboteurs and the ways we get in our own way. And when we are experiencing stress because of the part of the brain that we're activated in, we are activated in these mechanisms of self-protection that are called the saboteurs or these patterns of self sabotage. So what tends to happen is we have more procrastination, we have more self-doubt.

00;16;04;23 - 00;16;32;13
Speaker 2
The judging voice in our head gets louder, or maybe you go the other way, you overdo it, you overwork, you forgive, you overthink. So that tends to happen more frequently. So self-sabotage tends to happen more frequently when we are stressed. And that is contributed to by our passion. So the last one may seem the most obvious. So that's why I left it for last, is because when we have weak posture, it affects how we feel here.

00;16;32;14 - 00;17;07;13
Speaker 2
I know that seems obvious, but how we feel physically, right? We touch on a little bit of the pain levels, the energy levels, the focus, the creativity, feeling like you're accomplishing things, living your purpose, all of that stuff inadvertently, because of the correlation between posture and mental health. But when we talk about it from the more of the the physical perspective of when you are in strong posture because of what's happening in your body, when we're in that open posture, we actually have a decrease in cortisol, which is one of our stress hormones.

00;17;07;16 - 00;17;30;07
Speaker 2
We have an increase in testosterone, which happens even if you are female, right? So all humans have testosterone, some have more than others. So we have a decrease in our stress. So we have an increase in that motivational action taking. So we actually are likely to feel more confident. So if we're in weak posture, we have that feeling of collapse internally, externally.

00;17;30;09 - 00;17;55;05
Speaker 2
And so we have that lower energy level. And so what happens there is if you are feeling less confident in yourself and your body is closed off, you look a little bit more guarded, you look a little bit more unapproachable and you're communicating that in your body language, although you may not feel that way. Right. That's important. I'm not saying that you necessarily are by no means because I can't see you.

00;17;55;05 - 00;18;23;03
Speaker 2
And I maybe I know you, maybe I don't. I love you because you're listening. But what it is, is that you notice anywhere between 70 and 90% of your communication is nonverbal. So if you are in a weak, collapsed posture, the slouchy posture, you look closed off, you look a little unapproachable, you might look bored, you might look disinterested, you might look defeated, you might look sad.

00;18;23;11 - 00;19;00;21
Speaker 2
And so I'm not saying that you are those things, but I'm just saying, based on everything that we just said, it's important to consider what your body language is communicating to anybody else. And this goes for any situation, a networking situation, a sales conversation, a coaching session, connection with your friend, whatever. Right. And so that's really important for us to think about because again, and that goes full circle back to our first point is that your body language isn't just communicating silently to other people, it's communicating to your own nervous system and vice versa.

00;19;00;23 - 00;19;22;22
Speaker 2
Right? And so that's so important. That's the mind body connection is through the vagus nerve, is through the nervous system. And so if your body is collapsed, that free flow of energy, whether you call it prana or money or tea or vitality or oxygen or whatever special word that you have for it, we all agree that's important. It's limited, right?

00;19;22;22 - 00;19;51;10
Speaker 2
It's limited. And so whether that's a more esoteric concept to you or it's the physiological blood and oxygen and nourishment, it's the same, right? It's limited. It's restricted because the pathways are not open. So that's why, you know, energetically that can lead to disease and therefore disease. And so it's really just one of those things that you kind of think, oh, well, I just, you know, I strengthen my posture so I feel better in my body.

00;19;51;10 - 00;20;16;23
Speaker 2
Perfect. That's great. And that's enough reason for all of this. But now that, you know, the more intrinsic and impactful impacts probably could have picked a better word. But you know what I mean? Impacts of weak posture from a longevity point of view. Oh, and then, you know, this is not a fun fact, but it's appropriate to say now we posture is associated with early mortality.

00;20;16;26 - 00;20;45;01
Speaker 2
People that have a weaker posture later in life are more likely to die earlier than expected. Whoa. Yeah. It's not amazing. Right? And if you think about if you think of the classical posture of aging, when someone get stooped and they have limited mobility, not only does it affect their quality of life significantly. Right. Think about it. If you if your hand is so weak that you can't take a lid off of a jar of peaches, I don't know.

00;20;45;04 - 00;21;05;13
Speaker 2
Elderly people like peaches. I don't know what you know, Squirrel, if you can't open a doorknob, if you can't turn on a water faucet, if you're so limited in your movement that you can't reach up or it's hard for you to get off the toilet, that affects the quality of your life. But when we are off balance, because your posture direct directly impacts your balance, right?

00;21;05;15 - 00;21;28;24
Speaker 2
So those factors in addition to the weaker posture, is what places elderly people and I mean definitely muscle weakening and fear of falling. All of these things are factors, but they they all are contributing factors to a fall risk. And we know that when people fall, when they're elderly because their bones are tending to changing constitution, there's a higher risk for complications.

00;21;28;24 - 00;21;55;22
Speaker 2
And it can be a really big problem when people fall later in life and it can contribute to early death. So not only does it impact quality of life at any age, but specifically when we get older, it's really, really important from a longevity and a quality of life point of view to think about these things, because that classical posture of aging is not a destiny, it's not a life sentence, or it's not mandatory by any means.

00;21;55;25 - 00;22;21;06
Speaker 2
It is a result of day to day choices. So are you going to choose to accelerate your postural fitness or are you going to accelerate your postural aging because you have a choice? And not making a choice is a choice. And so accelerating your postural fitness looks like being proactive. Looks like doing that five minute workout that you can grab by clicking the link here.

00;22;21;12 - 00;22;44;29
Speaker 2
It looks like moving your body more. It looks like having an amplified body routine. It looks like getting up and moving away from your computer. Take it a little shaky. Great power pause. It looks like going for more. What? It doesn't have to look like strenuous workouts and in fact, little bits over time, throughout the day are a lot more beneficial because we want to make sure that we're not just moving once doing your workout in the morning and then sitting all day, right.

00;22;44;29 - 00;23;05;13
Speaker 2
That that's definitely not a balanced ratio. You can't sit at your desk and be sedentary in slouch posture for 8 hours and think that one hour workout or one hour of yoga is going to balance that out. It's not right. And so that's why having a standing desk or standing workstation capability so that you can sometimes sit, sometimes stand or just integrate more movements.

00;23;05;13 - 00;23;21;19
Speaker 2
Maybe you have walking meetings. I recently joined a networking community and one of the components which I love is 1 to 1 sessions, but a lot of it was done sitting down and I thought, Well, why can't we do a walking talk? Why can't we walk and get to know each other? Because we all spend way too much time sitting down anyway.

00;23;21;21 - 00;23;43;05
Speaker 2
So integrating my movements in a really simple way because again, that's, you know, there's another component of we, we can't just think that that little bit of exercise in the morning is going to outweigh it, right? So it's called active sedentary. So you might be active, but then if you're sedentary for the rest of the day, it's an imbalance in the ratio.

00;23;43;08 - 00;24;08;05
Speaker 2
So many people deal with neck pain, back pain. And of course there might be other structural issues at play. But the reality of it is, is a lot of it has to do with inactivity. But luckily it doesn't take much to make big changes and it's really more about the consistency and the commitment to not only feeling good today, but then sleeping better tonight.

00;24;08;05 - 00;24;29;10
Speaker 2
Because of this posture affects your sleep, it affects your mood, it affects your immune function and affects your organ function. Like I could talk for a long time about this, but I'm going to try to wrap it up here. Maybe we'll do another episode about that. But so making sure that you're moving mindfully so that you feel better now, you feel are confident, you feel like, Yes, I can do this.

00;24;29;10 - 00;24;52;00
Speaker 2
Your body is engaged, your core muscles are engaged so that you can walk onto the stage, go into the interview, into the sales call in that open posture. Right. Because you're communicating so much to yourself, but also to other people by way of your body language. And so that's really important to consider in every month of the year, but especially in May, because posture and mental health.

00;24;52;00 - 00;25;12;00
Speaker 2
But why not? And so, you know, this isn't just for the older demographics, right? Because there's a risk that is preventative. You can by taking action today, you are taking preventative measure. And I know a lot of times preventative measures, you know, they're they're a bit of a tougher sell. You know, my coach always says it's easier to sell Tylenol than vitamins.

00;25;12;07 - 00;25;33;05
Speaker 2
But the reality is, if we let it go so far gone, it's going to be a long road to work it back. But if you take these little mindful minutes, 5 minutes or more, and be able to make time for yourself because you care about how you feel, then that as a beautiful ripple effect into everything the shared and into all areas of your life.

00;25;33;08 - 00;26;05;10
Speaker 2
And so the last thing I wanted to say is that this affects every age and stage of humans and the crazy thing is, is that because children are using devices and gaming and all of those things at a much higher rate over the last few years and maybe the last couple of decades, I guess we're actually seeing significant postural changes that normally we're not presented until much later in life in children.

00;26;05;13 - 00;26;28;06
Speaker 2
That's not good, considering posture is declining at the rate of technological advances. And what we're seeing is being called by many people a postural devolution. That's not good. It's not good because what we're seeing is forward head posture, which we didn't normally see until later in life. But if someone is in that posture so much, your brain and your body and your nervous system adapt to it because that's what the body does.

00;26;28;12 - 00;26;53;17
Speaker 2
Daps And so if a kid is doing a lot of gaming, forward head, shoulders rounding their spine will develop that way. And so it's much more challenging to shift bony structure than it is to to shift soft tissue to soft tissue is your muscle, your connective tissue, bone structure. You know, that's a whole other sort. You can affect changes by affecting how your muscles move and how they work and how your joints move.

00;26;53;17 - 00;27;14;09
Speaker 2
You can begin to make those changes yourself by taking these suggestions that I share here and integrating more, moving into your day and starting your day with more movement, which is known to also boost productivity and focus and joy and all those beautiful things. So that is what I wanted to share with you today. I hope that you found that helpful.

00;27;14;16 - 00;27;31;07
Speaker 2
Make sure to grab the five minute tone your tissue and triceps workout because it's a little all in one are for your whole body and it's a great way for you to start the day. You can easily integrate it into your amplified morning routines. Good little pick me up a nice little power path that you can take anytime throughout the day.

00;27;31;10 - 00;28;01;24
Speaker 2
So really just having that knowledge that what you're doing here for your body and for your health is beneficial for you and all parts of your life because you're moving on purpose, you're taking charge of your focus. You're really honing that ability to harness the power of your mind. So that you can show up in that strong, open, powerful, confident posture, communicating that to your own system, but to everybody else that you encounter so that you're showing up as the purposeful powerhouse that you are.

00;28;01;27 - 00;28;16;11
Speaker 2
So I hope that was helpful. I can't wait to hear what you think about the five minute mini workout. And until next time, sit a little bit taller, darling, because your health and happiness depends on it. And better yet, stand up nevertheless.

00;28;16;16 - 00;28;43;21
Speaker 1
But thank you so much for listening. I hope you really enjoyed this episode and got a lot out of it. Please let me know what landed for you by taking a screenshot and sharing your takeaways on your Instagram stories. Make sure to tag me at I am Meghan Dolan for a shout out and future episodes and don't forget to grab all the goodies that we mentioned during the episode because you're going to love them.

00;28;43;28 - 00;28;51;06
Speaker 1
So all the links are in the show notes. So until next time, cheers to you. Living on purpose every day.

 

 

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