Poor posture could be the reason you’re not getting the most out of your workouts. Standing correctly can help you burn fat, gain strength and benefit your health in the long-term, according to a fitness advice article published in Men’s Health magazine.
Many people allow their shoulders to slouch, weight to shift to one hip and feet to flare out, physical therapist Doug Kechijian told Men’s Health. This “lazy” stance can cause your hips and shoulders to become tight over time. That stiffness makes it impossible to use the correct form in many exercises, often hindering weight loss progress.
The importance of posture isn’t limited to standing; sitting lazily can be just as detrimental to your health, says Dr. Trisha Summerlin, an Advocate Medical Group physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.
“Chronically poor sitting posture impacts both fitness and metabolism and can lead to injury or disability,” she says. “This is like a cycle: disability leads to changes in posture and activity that further predisposes to injury, illness or disability.”
But fear not– poor standing and sitting posture isn’t a permanent problem. Dr. Summerlin says one helpful technique is standing as tall as possible with your back against a wall and straightening your spine. The goal is to maintain a similar position standing away from the wall. Ideally, you can use this posture in all activities, which will help increase physical fitness. Just as bad posture slows metabolism, good posture promotes an efficient metabolism and helps with weight loss.
And there are added benefits of good posture beyond physical health. “Natural postural alignment conveys better health and self-confidence,” Dr. Summerlin says. So, while you are working out or working at your desk, check your posture and use Dr. Summerlin’s helpful tip by finding the nearest wall and aligning your spine. You’ll feel better, and down the line, it may even help you with those fitness goals.