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Stand Tall: Why Your Posture is Important

Truth be told, maintaining good posture was probably the last thing on your mind today. After all, in between rushing to and from work and frantically trying to fulfill all of your multiple commitments, when would you possibly have had the time to consider how good – or bad – your posture was?

But did you know that your posture directly impacts the quality of your daily life? Good posture is more than simply a way to look good, or to avoid developing a ‘hunch-back’. Good posture is in fact an essential part of our natural health and wellbeing.

Now let’s discover how maintaining good posture offers a host of benefits that will improve your health and wellbeing.

What is bad posture?

Let’s start by looking at what good posture isn’t. You can probably already guess that spending the day hunched over your keyboard isn’t going to improve your posture. Nor does good posture involve having rounded shoulders, a prominent potbelly or a head that is misaligned with your neck and body. The other signs and symptoms you can look out for include: muscle tension, headaches, back pain, and other aches and pains in your body.

Business woman with back pain after long work on chair. Isolated on white background

Benefits of good posture

  • Decreases your stress levels: Stick with me while we get a bit technical. Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is controlled by two systems: the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. When you’re feeling stressed, the chances are high that your sympathetic nervous system is the one in control. This is the division typically responsible for the fight or flight/stress response. When our posture is poor, our standard breathing method is shallow, chest breathing. This style of breathing automatically sets off the sympathetic nervous system and the stress response. However, when we practice correct posture, we breathe more deeply through our stomach and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for feelings of calmness and clarity.
  • Boosts your mental power: As the way you breathe improves, your brain’s ability to use oxygen vastly improves too. Oxygen is considered to be food for the brain and the more oxygen your brain receives, the easier it will be for your brain to boost your mental power including your ability to concentrate and problem solve.
  • Improves your digestion: Take a moment to consider how it feels when you hunch over. In fact, give it a try now. Can you feel how all of your internal organs squish against each other? Over a prolonged period of time, this can negatively affect your digestion and contribute to conditions such as acid reflux and heartburn. Now, uncurl your body and sit with your shoulders back and away from your ears. How much better does that feel? Can you feel how the tension on your organs has been released? Your digestion too will feel the difference!
  • Prevents future health complications: We all know that prevention is better than cure and the same rings true for your spinal health. Maintaining good posture will help prevent the development of future health conditions including slipped discs, poor circulation, and arthritis along with chronic muscle and joint pain.

How to improve your posture

Years of hunching, slouching, and unintentionally encouraging bad postural habits have trained our bodies to sit and stand a particular way. But just as you trained your body to develop bad posture, you can reprogram it to develop good posture. Here are some simple, easy ways that you can use to dramatically improve your posture.

  • Try stretching exercises, such as yoga and pilates, to boost muscle flexibility and promote good posture.
  • When standing, balance your weight evenly on both feet.
  • Avoid using chairs as ‘props’ and instead make an effort to sit independently of your chair. Keep your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Consider replacing your standard high heels or flat shoes with shoes that provide proper arch support.
  • Remain conscious of your posture throughout the day.
  • Try to cross your legs at the ankles.
  • Invest in a posturepedic mattress that will support your spine while you sleep.

And if you’re looking for a little extra help, why not schedule in a visit to your physiotherapist, osteopath, or chiropractor? With just a few small changes to your lifestyle each day, you will experience vast improvements in your current and future spinal health as well as your overall wellbeing.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your shoulders back and down and kick-start your perfect posture journey today!

Mental Health: Are You Taking Care Of It Or Ignoring It?

Happy young woman standing on one leg in the ocean with her arms in the air

With a balance struck between all aspects of your life – physical, social, spiritual, economic, and mental – you stay healthy in your mind, body, and soul. Mental health comes with a healthy lifestyle and adopting a realistic approach to living. Collect your thoughts, chalk down your future plans, and bring some flexibility into your life to achieve peace of mind. Being emotionally healthy provides you with a sense of contentment, a zest for living, and boosts your self esteem.

Knowing What Affects Your Mental Health

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Apart from causing mood swings, addiction to any of these substances may cause immense stress and affect your relationships.

Exercise and Diet

Too much sugar, carbohydrates, and a lack of exercise can not only lead to putting on a few extra pounds but may also impact your mental health in unhealthy ways such as frequent mood swings and prolonged depression.

Lack of Sleep

Stop being an owl! If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your brain will struggle with tasks throughout the day and look for a respite every now and then. For instance, you might take a longer time completing your usual tasks and would start taking naps on your keyboard in the office.

Negative Experiences

Life’s negative experiences might dishearten you and leave a feeling of helplessness and despair. Make sure you don’t end up developing such a pessimistic belief system when life gives you lemons.

How to Become Mentally Healthy?

Indulge In a Diet for Your Mind

Skip the saturated fats and sugars and move onto a healthy combination of fresh fruits and vegetables, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and whole grains. Nutrition doesn’t only affect your body but also energy levels and moods.

Step Up On Social Interaction

An emotional need for relationships makes us crave companionship. We cannot thrive in isolation because we programmed to want social interaction. Spend quality time with your family and friends to share life’s challenges and celebrate joys. Encourage new friendships and keep in touch with old ones for an upbeat and positive support system.

Don’t Drop Your Guard for Stress

Stress-free existence is no reality but when not taken care of can take a toll on your body and mind. Although moderate stress can be beneficial by enhancing memory and energy levels, chronic stress can be debilitating. Learn some relaxation techniques, engage in a favorite hobby, or share your troubles with a close friend to relive stress.

Get a Dose of Sunlight

Bask out in the sun and indulge in any physical activity such as step class, swimming, or walking to stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Feel a sense of euphoria, thanks to your endorphin rush.

Pay attention to the little signs that your body shows every now and then that may be a red flag when it comes to your mental health. For instance, you may develop anxiety or have trouble falling asleep. Engage in creative things that you love to do, take on a spiritual road to find peace within, control your emotions, accept compliments, exercise to let the ‘feel-good’ chemicals play with your mind, and engage in activities that appeal to your senses. It’s all about feeling good about yourself.



-BS Pharm, PharmD, RPh

Dr. Paul Zickler is a graduate of the University of Wester Ontario in 1972. After graduating from the faculty of medicine, Dr. Zickler practiced as an Emergency Physician for 18 years. He has then operated ambulatory medical and travel clinics for 12 years. Dr. Zickler has become an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of British Columbia, a Director of Professional Programs for the Justice Institute of British Columbia (paramedic academy), a principal investigator for Phase 2 and 3 studies researching vaccines, and a founding member of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. Dr. Zickler is passionate about combining western prescription medicine and natural medicines.

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