Author Archives: Zeena Dhalla
Author Archives: Zeena Dhalla
You’ve heard that the combination of diet and exercise will help you to shed those unwanted pounds; but how about good posture? When mom was nagging you to sit up straight, was she positively impacting your ability to maintain your youthful figure?
As a Certified Posture Specialist, I study the positive effects of biomechanically correct posture and how it affects the way the body feels. Neck pain, back pain and knee pain are all reduced with proper alignment building exercises. My life’s work is teaching clients to improve their poor posture from sitting all day long by stretching their anterior muscles, and strengthening their posterior muscles.
Adding posture building exercises to your daily life can add muscle mass, which in turn can assist with weight loss, but research has now shown that holding powerful posture positions, can influence your hormones to make you a fat burning machine.
The scientific link begins with the work of Harvard based Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy, whose 2012 Ted Talk became one of the most widely viewed talks in history. In her talk, she reported results from her 2010 study that links holding a powerful poses (hands on hips, chest high) with higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol. The foundation of this theory is supported by a previous study conducted in 2004, of participants who held a yoga “cobra pose” (aggressive back extension posture demonstrated here) and took blood tests before and after the pose. This study showed an increase in testosterone by 16% and a decrease in cortisol by 11%.
Now we know the link between holding your body in a posture positive position, and the effect on these two important hormones, testosterone and cortisol. Let’s now analyze how these important hormones can affect your ability to lose weight.
Testosterone is a hormone that has been shown to increase muscles mass. Since the hormone is clearly more predominant in men, it’s the reason why men tend to bulk up and slim down way faster than women. This 2014 review links testosterone therapy with weight loss and a lowering of their body mass index.
Cortisol is a hormone that is released by the body when there is external stress. This study conducted in 1994 indicates that women with a higher waist to hip ration (or more abdominal fat) had higher levels of cortisol in their salivary glands. The study links the presence of cortisol, with body fat distribution.
So, with this empirical evidence, we can link posture based exercises and holding powerful posture positions, to hormonally making it easier to lose weight.
In addition to the scientific research, let’s also take a look at the common sense evidence behind standing taller and improving your posture. When we slouch, we shorten the distance from our shoulders to our hips, thereby compressing the fat tissue into a smaller space and forcing it to protrude out. If someone is holding an anterior tilt position in the pelvis (aka lordosis, or an excessively arched lower curvature in the back), this means the glutes stick out further than they should, giving them an appearance of being bigger.
Check out this before and after picture of a client, who spent 4 weeks doing daily posture based exercises, and who actually reported that his weight didn’t actually drop:
With the head properly aligned and the shoulder placement more pronounced backwards, the abdominal area pulls in and the appearance is that of a taller, fitter client.
Now that you’re convinced, what exercises should you be doing to impact the hormones, and improve your posture?
The scientific research in this arena all point to “holding” these positions for lengths of time. Here is a 7 minute daily workout routine of 7 different exercises. All of these exercises are designed to open the body into powerful postures, and each one is held for one minute .
Also included in this 7 minute routine, are exercises or stretches (both are included) that open up the posterior muscles that need work as a result of sitting all day long, and stretching the anterior muscles that end up tight from rounding forward. For detailed descriptions of exactly how to do each exercise and picture demonstrations, visit here.
This routine takes 7 minutes and highlights 7 exercises which place your body in 7 powerful positions to increase the hormone regulating, muscle building, and body lengthening power that exercise can contribute to your body changing goals.
Get this workout delivered to your inbox with detailed instructions and pictures on how to perform each exercise here. Remember, only 7 minutes a day!
Integrate powerful poses into your daily routine to maximize your efforts towards better posture, a stronger body, and a healthy body weight. As mom used to day… “sit up straight!”.
Instagram is a powerful visual tool to learn about ways to improve your posture. I recently ran a campaign that went viral on Instagram and received multiple requests to compile the exercises into a useful downloadable exercise tool. So here it is… the top 10 most viewed videos from the #PosturePolice (posture police) campaign! Download it below and enjoy doing this routine in the comfort of your home.
BONUS: You will also receive access to a foam rolling document to help with any muscle tension you might have. For more information on foam rolling, check out this article here.
You probably don’t even think about how you bend over your desk is messing up your back!
Often issues like back pain come from repetitive, incorrect, movement patterns. So when you continue to bend and move a certain way, you create dysfunction in the spine, and eventually your body may start to get angry.
It’s a simple to learn how to move better at your desk. In fact, this short Facebook Live video will tell you exactly what to do, and what NOT to do.
I watch a lot of videos, and the maximum length I have patience to watch is usually 10 minutes. This one is less than 5! It’s my mission to create content you will actually take time to watch and implement. Short and to the point. Watch it now!