Stand Up For Yourself!

Next time you’re on the checkout line at the grocery store, look around you. How many people are standing with their weight to one side, with one knee bent and the other straight, like they are holding an invisible infant on their hip? I’ll bet just about everyone, including you!

So how are your hips feeling today? Your back? Your feet? How’s your posture? If any of these could “stand” (pun intended) some improvement, the solution could be as simple as a few small changes in how you hold yourself.

When we stand unevenly with more weight on one side of our body with one hip jutting out to the side, the muscles on one side of our body shorten while those on the other side lengthen. Over time, this throws off your hips, back, knees and even your internal organs.

The healthier way to stand makes a lot of sense; the hardest thing about it is remembering to do it! Place your feet hip-width apart with your feet under your knees. Your torso should be directly over your hips without leaning front, back or sideways. See if you feel different immediately. Do you feel more energized? Maybe you feel lighter or stronger? Take a minute to feel the difference for yourself.

And if feeling physically better isn’t a good enough reason to change things up, how you stand may make you feel better about yourself. Social Psychologist Ann Cuddy, in her TED talk, shared a study that showed when subjects stood in powerful grounded poses, like the one described above, for just 2 minutes before a stressful job interview, their testosterone (their dominance hormone) increased and their cortisol (stress hormone) decreased. And more importantly, the subjects all felt better and more confident in themselves during the interview. Additionally, interviewers perceived them as more competent than other candidates. So, according to Body Language for Dummies, “If you want to be perceived as powerful, influential and in control, stand with your legs slightly apart with your weight evenly distributed between them.”

See you at pickup or at the grocery store. And I’ll be watching how you stand.