Your posture sucks. And now you may want to fix it for reasons other than just your health. Many of us spend hours hunched over some sort of technological device, which causes prolonged discomfort and pain in our neck, back and shoulders, and can be a major contributor to headaches. To make matters worse, a new study has found that it also affects our physical attractiveness.
Researchers asked 112 young adult participants to rate different levels of attractiveness in some computer generated female figures. What the participants didn’t know is that posture, the figures and their own, was also being analysed. Researchers found that there was a strong correlation to the posture of the figures and the postures of the participants in terms of their attraction levels. “The difference in the posture of the participants increased the perceived attractiveness of the images sharing the same posture”. Meaning that: the participants were more attracted to people who shared the same posture as them.
The study also emphasised the importance of symmetry in attractiveness. The researchers found that the more symmetrical the figures were, the more attractive the participants found the figure. As the image below depicts, there isn’t anything symmetrical or sexy about slouching.
To put this all in perspective, Darwin discusses items like good health and the ability to deal with stress as few concepts that factor into sexual selection. People with good posture are perceived as healthy, confident, successful, and capable people. So in terms of this study, if you have good posture you’re more likely to attract people with the same posture as yourself, including all of the same great qualities and perceptions that come with it.
Additionally, by just standing up straight, you can accentuate your masculine features and look trimmer instantly. Also, posture is one of the first non-verbal impressions you can make. Even if you don’t feel mentality confident, your body posture and how you carry yourself can speak volumes when it comes to women.
It gets better. Another test instructed a group of men stand with good postures and noted that even after holding the posture for only a few minutes, the men experienced a 20% increase in testosterone and a 25% decrease in cortisol, the hormone that contributes to stress. Once a person has acquired a good posture, it’s been observed to contribute to a person’s overall energy level as their body is performing and working more efficiently.
So, how can you improve your posture right now? Here are three areas to focus on:
Strengthen your core
Good posture starts with a strong core. You need to use your abdominal muscles to hold your body upright. A weak core means that other muscles in your body, like you back, have to overcompensate which results in pain.
Fix those shoulders
Because of hunching, the muscles in our shoulders shorten and they curl forward. Focus on strengthening those weak upper back muscles and stretching out the chest will help to get the shoulders back to where they should be.
Your head is heavy. Having it jut out past your shoulders means that it isn’t being supported properly, which, you guessed it, leads to pain and tension. Your ears should be above your shoulders.
Exercise examples: Elongate your neck by pulling your chin in as far as you can, practice pulling your chin and head back to touch the back of a chair, neck stretches.
Try to be conscious of your posture as often as you can by reminding yourself to sit up straight throughout the day, and stretch as often as you can, especially if you’re at a desk all day.
If you need some extra motivation, Lumo has created an activity tracker that helps monitor your posture.
Bad posture is a habit that won’t be broken overnight but with some persistence your body will find its natural equilibrium again and you may find yourself a bit more popular with the ladies.
Want more information? Check out a few of these other resources:
- 5-minute stand-straight exercise
- The Better Posture Workout
- 6 Exercises for Better Posture
- Best Sleeping Positions for a Better Posture
Danielle Roberts is a Canadian freelance writer currently based out of Calgary. A self-professed dweeb with a dash of geek, Danielle attained a BA in English at the University of Calgary back in 2010. She has an obsession with running and cats and also loves to read, write and listen to angry music. You can follow her on twitter @PluviophileRead or check out her website.