It looks like Mom was right (again). But this time, her advice can lead to a raise, say some experts. Her dinnertime nagging to “stand up straight” and “don’t slouch” has been proven not only to benefit your body, but also benefit your paycheck.
“We learn so much just from looking at someone. How they are standing and present themselves is very powerful,” says Gretchen Langner, U.S. organizer for Bones for Life, a program designed to stimulate bone strength through natural movement and weight-bearing postures. “A leader can explore those components of her self-image through the neutral vehicle of movement and movement relationship,” she says. “Plus, good posture helps with breathing and articulation.
“When (someone’s) alignment is not visually at ease, our nervous systems respond to the tensions we see,” says Langner, which can undercut the respect a business leader is trying to command.
The Cleveland Clinic has shown that correct posture leads to proper, more efficient muscle use, decrease in the wearing of joints, decrease in the stress on the ligaments holding the spine together, and the prevention of fatigue, strain and backache. All of these lead to an overall improved appearance—which, fair or not, affects how we’re all perceived in the workplace.
Standing up straight seems simple enough, right? But without a conscious effort to create good posture habits, many of us fall short.
The Cleveland Clinic offers these tips for better posture:
1. Hold your head up straight with your chin in. Refrain from tilting your head forward, backward or sideways, and make sure your earlobes are in line with the middle of your shoulders.
2. Keep your shoulder blades back, chest forward and knees straight.
3. Stretch the top of your head toward the ceiling.
4. Tuck your stomach in. Do not tilt your pelvis forward or backward.
5. Make sure the arches in your feet are supported.
6. Avoid standing in the same position for a long time.
7. If possible, adjust the height of your work surface to a comfortable level.
8. When standing, try to elevate one foot by resting it on a stool or box. After several minutes, switch your foot position.
By Bari Lieberman
For more information about Bones for Life, visit bonesforlife.com.