The Many Benefits Of Good Posture

Having good posture is an important part of remaining healthy. IT helps you avoid back pain and premature wear on your bones, improves lung performance, and much more. In this article, we will explain what good posture is before explaining the many benefits that it provides.

What is good posture?

Posture is the form that your body takes when you are sitting, standing, and laying down. Maintaining “good” posture is positioning your body so there is less strain placed upon your body’s muscles and ligaments when in these positions.

It requires your body to be as close to its natural shape as possible. So if you are sitting down, this would mean:

Keeping your chin up and looking forward
Keeping your shoulders back (not slouching)
Bending your knees at a right angle
Keeping your feet flat on the floor
Keeping your back straight enough that all 3 natural curves of the spine are present.

Sitting with good posture distributes weight more evenly across your muscle groups – helping you avoid neck, shoulder and back pain. It also allows you to comfortably work for longer periods and avoid some serious long-term health problems.

Having a chair with lumbar support will help you maintain good back posture.

What are the benefits of good posture?

Protects your future health

Having good posture will keep your joints correctly aligned, protecting the joint surfaces from abnormal wear-and-tear. By preventing this type of wear-and-tear, you can lower your risk of various illnesses including arthritis and postural hunchback.

It makes it easier to breathe

The diaphragm is a large muscle that is responsible for respiration. When the diaphragm moves, it changes how much pressure there is within the thorax – causing air to either enter or exit the lungs.

Posture affects breathing because it changes how much room the diaphragm has to move. If you are slouched in a chair or while walking, the diaphragm cannot contract or expand as easily, preventing you from taking deep breaths. As soon as you correct your posture, you will immediately notice how much easier it is to breathe. This is a particularly useful benefit for anyone who has a health condition that affects their breathing.

Can help prevent back pain

Developing good posture can eliminate back pain caused by stressed muscles and poor joint alignment. It does so by actively reducing the strain placed on the muscles and joints by spreading weight across the entire body. This ensures that certain muscles or joints are not overworked or damaged.

Over time, having good posture will even improve the alignment of your spine, which will improve the condition of your back and reduce the risk of back injuries. You will be less likely to suffer from herniated discs, muscle strains or other back problems.

Improved physical performance

Good posture requires the use of more muscle groups. Not only does this reduce the chances of straining a single muscle, it can lead to an improvement in overall physical performance. Having the ability to engage muscles more evenly will help you perform better during daily activities and any sports that you play.

Strengthens the core

If you have already made improvements to your sitting posture, you will have noticed that your abdominal muscles feel more engaged. Your abdominals will be “sharing the load” with your back muscles as they keep your torso stable. The more you improve your posture, the stronger your core will get, thus improving the alignment of your spine, reducing stress on your back muscles, and improving your mobility.

Makes you look more attractive

Have you ever seen an actor or actress on a talk show? Did you notice how impeccable his or her posture was? Actors and actresses concentrate on having good posture because they understand how much it affects their appearance. By sitting tall in their seat and keeping their chin up, they will look much more beautiful or handsome to the viewers at home. You will gain the same benefits as you improve your posture.

Improved digestion of food

Sitting or standing with good posture will ensure your internal organs are in their natural position. This makes it easier for the body to digest food and perform other important functions like maintaining good blood circulation.

Can improve your mood

Researchers from the University of San Francisco have discovered that having good posture can help improve a person’s mood. They found that improved posture could also increase energy levels and reduce the risk of mental illnesses like depression.

Improving your posture can deliver some amazing benefits to your health and lifestyle. If you are interested in developing good posture, talk to a chiropractor or general practitioner. You can also use online resources like NHS choices to learn more.

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Changing the Way I Looked at Food

Recently I posted my current picture on Facebook. I received so many replies, “WOW! You look amazing. People have asked, “How did you do it?

This is my journey… Losing weight was not an easy road, but I had achieved the goal I had fought for so many years. Unlike many, I did not have a weight problem while growing up. At 18, being 5’2, I was only 115 pounds. But for some reason, I thought I was overweight. Later on in life, I realize I had a distorted body image of myself. That is another story for another time.

For right now, this is about my fight with adult obesity. By the time I was 44-years-old, I found myself tipping the scales at 250 pounds. How did I let myself get to this point? Was it from the three pregnancies I had? Or was I the victim of my own environment? Would this help anyone if I blame my weight gain on others? I could write a long list of excuses. Blame everyone. Why waste valuable energy?

For years I have been telling myself sure I will lose weight. I marked on the calendar Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday as the days I will work out. Each time I failed. I failed because I continued to make excuses for not having time to go to the GYM. Who will watch my children as I become selfish by taking time away from them to exercise. Even though they offered childcare for parents. I made excuses. I truth is I did not want to spend the extra funds. There was a list of excuses which filled my brain.

I found myself in so much pain. Always complaining of my snapping and popping knees. The way I barely was able to step out of bed without weeping of the aching throbbing lower back pain. I disliked going to the doctors. It was like going to the principal’s office. I had to brace myself for bad news.

“Mrs. Rivera, your knees have lost all the Cartilage,” the doctor said. She explained the cartilage was the spongy part between the bones, which I was informed mine had disappeared. She continued, “You will need a knee replacement, but first you need to lose weight.” She treated me as if I was over 800 pounds. I’m only 250, yet here we are talking about knee surgery. I have seen some of my loved ones who too are overweight undergone knee replacement and they have not been the same. I was not about to go through that hell. No way.

Unfortunately, this did not motivate me to lose weight. I was a single mother, not happy with the way I felt and looked in the mirror. I had developed a double chin. My clothes did not seem to fit right. I barely can move around. I did not recognize the young Hispanic woman anymore.

When I took my son to an amusement park, I was very embarrassed because either the creator of the coasters made the seats to small or my backside was just bigger than I thought. I barely fit on the rides. Once I cram myself in the seats, I had the great complication of putting on the seatbelts and harness on. I usually had an operator come by and push down on the harness for it to click. The moment of takeoff I just felt this will be the moment I will die because of my weight. Still, this did not motivate me to lose weight.

I dreaded shopping for clothes. Nothing would fit right. It was like Goldie and the three bears, except even the big items, just did not fit right. I have an hourglass shape. This means, my top is small, my waist is smaller, but my hips are big. Clothes are not made for woman shape like me. I would have to get everything tailored. That is just so frustrating. Being, only 5’2, which means the regular size pants are way too long and the petite sizes are too short.

There are certain situations that may be reasons why women my age may gain weight and have a difficult time losing it. Here are a few I thought was my reasons for this difficult weight loss issue:

1. Age – Age is a huge factor why the pounds just sticks to the bones. When I was young I was able to bounce back eat whatever I wanted, but as time and gravity move in I realize that the juke that I was consuming was not my friend. Slowly without notice, the pounds moved right in and I did not evict them. It was not easy. Something inside of me had to change. What, I did not know?

2. Food – Convenience is on every corner. Leading busy lives work, school, and family, who has time to cook a well-balanced meal. If I did, I did not have control over my portions. Finally, there is the metabolism war.

3. Metabolism – When young my metabolism was working overtime even when sleeping. At some point in my life, Mrs. metabolism got lazy. I got married. A year later I was pregnant, but still young I bounced back quickly. Before my daughter turned one I was giving birth to my son. I found my metabolism had left never to return. It was what I called dormant.

Now that I knew the factors, was I going to do something about it? You might be thinking, when and why did it change? How did I get from “Man you look homely” to “Wow, you look amazing”?

In 2017, everything changed. I decided to leave my life and my job of 11 years in California. I packed up my Jeep Cherokee and headed to the East Coast. I had no job lined up, but there I was blasting Pandora wondering if I had made the right decision to relocate. I had family on the East Coast, so I did not have to worry about where to live. My life, friends, and a stable life was right in California. My weight loss journey did not start at “boy I really need to lose weight”.

As I was settling myself into a new culture and new environment, I began my employment search. In the meantime, I headed right to the gym. I needed something to occupy my time and energy. Slowly I started losing weight, just by exercising. Go figure. I was excited, but I wanted to lose more.

I could see my metabolism slowly waking up from her slumber. I wanted more. I wanted to jump start my dormant metabolism. I hated hearing. “You will always have a difficult time losing weight because woman your age their metabolism is not working like it used to.” Well if that is the case then let’s do something about it.

The first thing I did was go to the local vitamin store GNC. The clerk was very helpful and understanding of my needs. I explained I did not want anything to raise my heart and give me the jitters. He explained what product would be great for me to use and continued to inform me that if I do not like the way the pills made me feel, I have the options to return them with no question asked. I like that deal and customer satisfaction. Sold.

I started taking the pills as recommended. The first few months I did see some weight loss, but not to my satisfaction. I needed to figure out my next steps in my weight loss journey. I did not want to purchase more pills to get the job done.

First, I got it out of my mind that this pill or any pill is NOT a super pill.

Second, I realized I had to change my thinking about food and exercise.

I started a food journal. I logged everything in this journal. (no cheating) The only person who would lose by cheating would be me. So, I included candy, crackers, water, coffee, EVERYTHING I thought might be too small or unimportant was logged in. I left no rock unturned.

I would weigh myself every morning and log this into the journal. At the end of each week, I would look at the journal and analysis which food needs to be removed and what needs to be added. Then, I add what exercise I should add and for how long. If I plateau, I will analysis what I would need to do once again to jump start my metabolism.

In order to focus, I wrote down my goals. This is the way I broke them down:

Start weight: 250

End weight: 150

Monthly weight loss: 10 pounds

Weekly weight

Daily Log I would write my weight and upcoming goals.

Once I did this, I started seeing results. My clothes were beginning to fit loosely. I started getting excited. My coworkers and family were noticing. Within 6 months junk foods which included – no soda and no fast food, was removed from my food pyramid. When I went out eating, I felt as if the waiters/waitress’ might not like me because I was always substituting items. That was just in my mind because those I came across were sweet as apple pie. I changed my portion sizes to a baby bowl size for every meal. I drank water and regular tea versus diet soda and sweet tea.

I still ate my favorite foods especially when I might have a craving. Like cheese. I feel like I was a mouse in my past life and was unable to get the cheese I wanted then, so here I am being a glutton for cheese. The other items I just cannot remove from my system are my special creamer for coffee and the Ritz crackers I enjoy dipping in the coffee every morning. Other than that, after a while, I trained my body not to crave destructive items. Now I no longer have those juke food cravings or turn to food as a comfort.

My self-control paid off. One year later, I am now 162 pounds, size 10 in jeans, and my dress size depending on the design is either medium or large. I am not currently at my goal of 150 pounds and I do struggle every day to have self-control via the office, parties, and life but I keep in mind on my goal. I was excited to wear a bathing suit for the very first time in 22 years.

What keeps me going so I want gain the weight back? I look at past pictures of myself and remember the way I do not want to look. I remember the way my health is now compare to the past and tell myself I will never want to suffer the chronic pain I had from the past. Lastly, I love the way I look and the way my clothes fit me.

A Silent Killer – Inflammation

Inflammation is a biological response of the body to protect itself from harmful internal and external stimuli and start healing. It is a part of the body’s immune system and protects us from infections, wounds and tissue damage. Inflammation can be acute where it can start quickly and become severe in a short span of time. For example, acute inflammation can cause diseases and conditions like sinusitis, a sore throat from a cold, acute bronchitis, etc. Inflammation can be chronic in response to unwanted toxins in the body like cigarette smoke or excess body fat. This may extend from months to years that may lead to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and non-infectious conditions like tuberculosis, peptic ulcer, hepatitis, etc.

What causes chronic inflammation?

Stress: Stress causes activity in the brain that can lead to physical pain which may lead to an inflammatory response in the body. Hence, people suffering from stress may experience inflammation.

Poor diet: Some foods like simple sugars, high fructose corn syrup, refined flours, trans-fat-rich foods, processed meat, fried foods, etc. can trigger the inflammatory response in the body. So the consumption of these food items should be restricted.

Unhealthy lifestyle: Consumption of alcohol, smoking, leading a sedentary life and being overweight creates a stress in the body that triggers an inflammatory response.

Pollution: Pollution causes damage to the cells which may cause inflammation.

How can you be safe from chronic inflammation?

Regular physical activity: The regular physical activity of 30 – 50 minutes will help you reduce weight and will also help you to mobilize the joints. This will reduce the chances of developing chronic inflammation.

Having a well-balanced and nutritious diet: Do include all the food groups in your diet. Have foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fibre, magnesium, carotenoids, antioxidants and lycopene as these nutrients are anti-inflammatory.

Some anti-inflammatory foods are:

Olive oil
Tomatoes
Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
Leafy greens, including spinach and kale
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel
Fruits, especially blueberries, oranges and cherries
Spices like ginger, turmeric, oregano and cloves

Relieve yourself of stress: Sleeping for a minimum of 6-8 hours a day, trying and using stress relaxation techniques, talking about how you feel, etc will help you in maintaining and lowering your stress. This reduces the chances of inflammation.

Understanding the link between chronic inflammation, diet and exercise will help in ageing healthily and keep chronic diseases at bay. Eating an overall healthy diet rather than singling out foods and incorporating them into your diet is the best way to fight inflammation. Unprocessed, plant-based foods with a variety of colours will ensure your body is protected from inflammation.

If you are looking to improve the overall quality of life with different foods or need a healthy weight loss programs, dietitians in Mumbai and nutritionist in Mumbai can help you plan these meals at our weight loss clinic in Mumbai.

Arati Shah is an expert nutritionist who crafts personalized weight loss programs at Café Nutrition. Having earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition along with a Post-Graduation in Sports Sciences and Nutrition from S.N.D.T Juhu, she also runs weight loss clinic in Mumbai. She heads the team of nutritionist in Mumbai and takes a personal interest in each and every client of Café Nutrition.