It’s no secret that good posture is a key weapon in the fight against osteoporosis. That’s why I love to bring you a variety of exercises that improve posture by flattening the upper back to prevent and correct kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump).
But good posture does more than stave off kyphosis. It also opens up your breathing, decompresses your abdominal cavity, relieves back and neck pain, and gives you an air of confidence.
And now, exciting research reveals that excellent posture can actually boost your confidence and decrease bone-damaging hormones.
Let’s start with a reminder as to why toning the upper and mid-back is so important.
Exercises like this weekend’s challenge work the muscles in the upper back. It’s easy to forget that muscles are vitally important for strengthening bone and aligning the vertebrae.
The action of muscle on bone stimulates the formation of new bone at the site of pressure, increasing density in those areas. The Upper And Middle Back Toner works the muscles in the middle and upper back, putting healthy pressure on the vertebrae, scapulae, and shoulder joints.
The motions involved in today’s challenge are the direct opposite of the slumped shoulders, rounded middle back, and forward head posture (FHP) so prevalent in our modern society. It’s important to counteract these common postural errors that can creep up unnoticed until they become a real problem.
Poor posture and FHP can throw you off balance, which sets the stage for a fall that can result in painful fractures.
And it turns out that the air of confidence that comes with good posture is not just about appearance. A straight, open posture actually stimulates hormones associated with feeling powerful and decreases bone-damaging cortisol. We’re going to explore the data on this topic in a moment, but first, let’s get to today’s exercise.
If you don’t have a carpeted floor, you’ll want an exercise mat for the Upper And Middle Back Toner.
- Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor and your arms extended in front of you, thumbs pointing up.
- Lift your head and chest up off the floor slightly, and bring your arms back toward your feet. Keep your thumbs facing up and your hands flat.
- Bring your arms back to the starting position, and bring your forehead back down to the floor.
- Repeat about 10 times, or whatever is comfortable for you.
I like to follow up this exercise with The Back Flattener, a recent Weekend Challenge that also targets the upper back. And it’s also performed from the same prone position, so you can go right into it!
Study Shows That Good Posture Induces Feelings Of Confidence And Power
A strong, shoulders-back posture is typically viewed as a result of confidence and feeling comfortable and powerful. A fascinating study has shown that feeling powerful or powerless hinges on more than just posture; it also involves the hormones testosterone and cortisol.
Testosterone is associated with feelings of competition, anticipation, and positive action. Cortisol, the stress hormone, actually decreases when you feel accomplished, powerful, and competent.1
Study participants agreed to assume either “power poses” or poses that conveyed defeat and powerlessness. What’s interesting is that the participants did not know why they were being asked to assume these poses; they simply put their bodies in the suggested positions and then completed a neutral “filler task.”
Participants were then given $2 and told they could simply keep it, or roll a dice and take a gamble with a 50/50 chance of doubling the money to $4. They were also asked if they felt powerful (or not), and their hormone levels were evaluated.
Amazingly, the group that had assumed the powerful postures were more likely to take the gambling risk, and they also had higher levels of testosterone when tested. Perhaps even more significantly as it relates to bone health, the “power posture” group had 25% lower levels of bone-damaging cortisol.1
Targeted Exercise Promotes Good Posture
It’s always refreshing to find out that we have control over an aspect of our health that we thought was out of our reach, or automatic. Hormone levels are one such aspect, and it’s simply great news to discover that we can significantly influence our hormone levels and mental and emotional state with good posture.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
Learn the 52 exercise moves that jumpstart bone-building – all backed by the latest in epigenetics research.
Exercises that “teach” your body how to engage those power-posture muscles are crucial. The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System provides a variety of moves that target posture and so much more.
Have you found that exercise and proper posture give you more confidence? Please feel free to share your experience with the community by leaving a comment below.
Have a great weekend, and walk tall!
1 Carney, Dana R.; Cuddy, Amy J.C.; and Yap, Andy J. “Power Posing: Brief Nonverbal Displays Affect Neuroendocrine Levels and Risk Tolerance.” Psychological Science. 2010. 21(10) 1363-1368. Doi: 10.1177/09567976 10383437. PDF. https://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/mygsb/faculty/research/pubfiles/4679/power.poses_.PS_.2010.pdf