What if I told you a little secret that will help you look thinner and give you a flatter belly? Bad posture might not directly be responsible for belly fat, but stooped posture for hours leads to poor digestion and bad absorption, which increases overall fat. Posture compression also makes you look fat. It is an illusion that the body shape creates even without actually having much belly fat. It may seem like you have a paunch (you will see the difference right posture can make in the figure below).
This is a classic example of a person with a sway back posture. Very little body awareness of how to hold one’s self upright is what creates the illusion of a larger than actual belly. Good posture enhances the look and feel of a person. Standing tall looks better but it also makes you feel energetic, slim and younger.
Besides the illusion created with bad posture you can actually burn more calories by maintaining active postural positions. I call this the inconspicuous invisible exercise. This constant exercise is invisible to others and none will even realise you’re actually burning all those extra calories.
Below are the six stages of the invisible exercise (refer to the figure on right):
1. While maintaining a standing posture keep the feet pointing straight. Activate the mounds of the feet, while spreading the toes apart and apply equal pressure on the whole foot.
2. Rotate the knees outward to track your knees over the third toe, while maintaining a slight bend in the knees. This prevents the arch in the foot from collapsing. Roll the inner thighs out.
3. Squeeze the glutes 50% and brace your core by 20%. This will automatically align your lower back to keep it in a neutral, pain free, compression free, position.
4. Don’t flare the ribs out, instead roll the shoulders out and turn the palms out.
This automatically sets your trunk in the most natural position of ease as it depresses the shoulder blades.
5. Hold your chin in like a double chin.
6. Don’t forget to take deep breaths, expanding the rib cage.
No one can make out that the body is highly active and charged even while simply standing. This highly charged state dispels fatigue and improves energy levels. Use of postural muscles constantly burns calories, while maintaining an ageless spine. Improved posture burns extra calories faster and the after-effect of this is efficient movement.
The above mentioned position slowly reduces belly fat and maintains the tone in the glutes too, keeping them constantly alive and active during the day. Do not perform it post meals and during rest periods.
Excessive bloating of the abdomen and constipation can also be prevented using this method. Women also obsess about post-pregnancy fat. Accelerating fat burn with this exercise can help that sagging belly, post pregnancy. The body communicates to us in its own language. So, this is also a great way for most individuals to connect with their own body and generate more body awareness.
A body in an optimal position mostly never gets tight, compromised or stiff. A compromised posture leads to stiffness and restricted mobility making it difficult to get in and out of positions. When movement becomes a challenge, laziness sets in, which in turn dissipates energy levels, thus discouraging further movement. Active people rarely have any aches and pains.
Every dynamic position is work in action and a body in motion. But the trick is to make all your static positions dynamic by using this method. So, try this invisible exercise while sitting, standing, walking and moving. Burning calories while sitting becomes active sitting and can prove to be a game changer. After trying this you would surely develop an attitude of self-confidence!
(Shikha Puri Arora is a rehab trainer, posture, ergonomic consultant and your support from injury to fitness based on real science. You can write to her on email@example.com)
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