There is no better way to communicate that you have a cool sense of style while leaving a lasting impression like a straight back. Quite simply, a good posture can greatly impact how others perceive you. Being even just a few kilos overweight can have a negative affect on your spine, posture and core strength. Furthermore, your posture also has a great impact on your metabolism, muscle development, and distortion of the body.
So below you’ll find a list of reasons why losing weight will not only make you look and feel better, but create a body that is capable of performing day to day tasks with ease, and also capable of supporting and preserving joint health…including the spine.
1. Belly fat and abdominal muscles are like oil and water
To put it simply, belly fat and abdominal muscles don’t work well together; they are like oil and water. When the abdominal muscles contract, they contract inward towards the organs. They create a strong “corset” or belt of the entire trunk and torso.
Now body fat not only gets stored just under your skin (this is called subcutaneous fat), but also inside your body, around your organs (this is called visceral fat). When you have this visceral fat, and you try to contract your abdominal muscles inwards…well, you can’t do it.
And that’s because there is no space for them to contract in to. It’s kind of like trying to squeeze a balloon and expecting it to stay squeezed in once you’ve let go.
So will you be able to get strong abdominals if you are overweight? Maybe! But they won’t be capable of functioning to their best ability, leaving you vulnerable to potential lower back pain.
2. Your spine need to bend
Your spine loves to bend in all sorts of different directions…backwards, sideways, twisting and forwards.
If you have too much body fat around the middle, it really does restrict the amount of mobility you can achieve in your spine, especially bending forward.
In our everyday life, we do a lot of forward bending in daily activities. Bending over to put your shoes on, picking kids from the floor, gardening, housework etc.
The combination of a mobile, flexible spine AND strong abdominal muscles, creates a body capable of performing these activities easily, effortlessly and without injury.
If you struggle with these activities and you are carrying a few extra kilos, then that extra weight is compromising your ability to get core strong and the long term health of your spine.
3. Hips, knees and feet
More and more people who have degeneration of the hips and knees and the really common complaint of plantar fasciitis in the feet. So does being overweight contribute to these issues? Yes and no!
There are certainly issues that happen with these joints that are unpreventable and do require medical intervention. But even if you do have one of these issues, being overweight certainly won’t help the issue.
Here’s an analogy. If you are packing up your car to go on a long holiday and you’ve jammed it full with lots of heavy camping gear. The more gear you put in, the under carriage and tyres start to groan under the pressure and stop the shock absorbers of the car working effectively, so you feel every bump in the road.
Now if you had an old car that you hadn’t looked after much or wasn’t built for that amount of load, it would buckle under the pressure more than a brand new well looked after model.
That’s exactly like your hips, knees and feet.
The more load they have on them, and the longer they have the load on them, the more likely they are to “buckle” or develop issues like degeneration and acute injury.
4. Healthy spines work against gravity
Strong and functional postural muscles, actively work against gravity, elongating and lengthening your spine up. If you are overweight, the extra kilos drag your body down towards the ground, making it much harder to be upright.
To understand this principle more, try carrying a 5-10kg weight in the front or back of your body and then try to stand as upright as you can. You may be able to do it, but I’m sure you won’t be able to sustain it for very long.
So you can see that when you are 5-10kg overweight it adds an enormous work load to your postural muscles, challenging them to keep you in alignment and balance, preventing injury and degeneration of your spine.
5. Overweight causes joint and muscle stiffness
We are all born with a varying degrees of flexibility. If you aren’t one of those people who can touch their toes and you have issues with joint mobility and muscle tightness, being overweight isn’t going to help your cause.
So why do we need to be flexible anyway? Because the body needs to be able to experience it’s full range of movement for joint health and to be able to perform everyday tasks easily.
All the reasons we’ve spoken about so far contribute to an increase in a lack of flexibility, but the bottom line is that being overweight restricts your movement ability, leading to your joints becoming “rusty”. And rusty joints can become prone to degeneration and injury.
So, how can you improve your posture?
Below is a list of fixes you can try anywhere:
Posture Fix No. 1
Imagine there’s a headlight right in the middle of your chest at the sternum (breast bone), says Krucoff. Sitting or standing, your headlight should always shine forward. Now, keeping your head centered over your shoulders, extend your head toward the ceiling without lifting your chin.
Posture Fix No. 2
If you are in front of a computer most of the day, we recommend doing this exercise at your desk: Lift the bottom of your ribcage an inch or two off your hipbone, pulling your shoulder blades back and down. To make sure you maintain the position, pin a ribbon to top and to bottom of your shirt and keep it taut for 10 minutes at a time.
Posture Fix No. 3
Yoga and pilates are great exercises to strengthen your core and help get things moving. One pose that can rev up a sluggish gut is the Cobra: Lie on your belly while resting your head on your lower arms. Raise your forehead and look upwards, letting your weight rest on your chest. Letting your head fall back a little, move your belly further off the mat as if someone is pulling your arms.
Posture Fix No. 4
Don’t let television beat you. Try doing the TV Stand: Stand up from chair without using arms and sit down in a smooth and controlled motion. Just doing this simple move can keep your lower body muscles very strong.
Posture Fix No. 5
Get up and move. There is a little-known plan called the 2 Week Diet that actually teaches you what to eat and when so you can boost your metabolism, allowing you to shed weight and shed it FAST. Those on the diet report losing 12-23 pounds and 2-4 inches in a matter of 2 weeks – all backed by science. Watch this video to learn more about how the 2-week diet works.