Posture Patrol and the Cubans
For those who know me, you will already be aware that I'm a stickler for good posture. Being aware of or 'patrolling' your posture is a big deal. A strong, engaged lower back (especially when seated), shoulders back, head nicely placed on top of the torso is very, very important. Not only is an upright, erect position placing much less stress on the spine by making the muscles do the work and not the joints (muscles get stronger, joints get weaker), but it is far more visually appealing.
I had the privilege to backpack through South & Central America last year and one country that captivated me was Cuba. The Cubans have INCREDIBLE posture. It was heaven as a chiropractor! I spent most of the two weeks people-watching and taking photos of unsuspecting locals.
For those who don't know Cuba's history, it is a country stuck in the 1960's due to a trading embargo (recently lifted) placed upon them by America. There are minimal office jobs, no internet or smart phones, only the odd old-school box TV and everyone is outside playing marbles, handball and chatting on the street. As a result, everyone without exception, has jaw-dropping posture. They could stand with their backs against a wall and every part of their rear body would be touching! It can only be described as 'straight as a ruler'.
During my people-watching marathons, the gringo tourists stood out like the nose on your face, not because of the obvious skin colour differences but because of their slumped shoulders and turtle-neck heads. Compared to the local Cubans, it was very visually unappealing.
Even more significant is the effect of posture and your hormones. A famous TED talk with over 11 million views by Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy (click here to view), explained that just 2 minutes of posing in either strong posture or weak posture poses produced startling results. Strong, upright poses significantly increased testosterone and decreased the stress hormone cortisol. Poor, weak, hunched posture has the exact opposite effect. That means you can literally change your hormones and your physiology simply by changing your posture!
So chest out and shoulders back, do chest opening stretches, start doing yoga and get your spine adjusted regularly. Not only will you look good but it's good for your health!