Lose weight through good posture

How standing tall can make you slim.

How's your posture?

How fast can you slim down? Many doctors say you can safely lose a pound or two a week. Various websites throw out more ambitious claims: "lose 18 pounds in four days" or "28 pounds in three weeks."

There is one sure and safe method to look slimmer and feel better immediately, and that's to stand up straight.

James Emmett is a chiropractor and owner of the Centrum Chiropractic Clinic in Ottawa. Emmett says people who improve their posture see positive results, not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. "If we can teach them about body posture, that can have a widespread effect," he says. "Because they're carrying themselves better it takes tension off the whole body and everything starts to flow better."

Eventually, most of us will need to work on our posture. "Everybody goes through stresses in their life," Emmett says. "Family, work or just general physical body stresses all have a way of affecting posture."

Do a posture check
When was the last time you evaluated your posture? Emmett recommends the following self-check:

1. Take off your shoes and find a flat expanse of wall.
2. With your back to the wall, press your heels and bum against it.
3. Slide one of your hands between the wall and your low back.

The space should only be about the width of your hand, says Emmett. Anything much bigger and you know there's a problem with overcurvature.

Emmett says too much curve in the low back will pull your head forward and round your shoulders. This posture looks unattractive and can lead to a variety of physical strains and pains throughout the body.

Avoid posture pitfalls
We all do things at work, home or even while asleep that can be bad for our posture. Emmett says the following are some of the biggest culprits:

At work: Sitting incorrectly, placing items like the phone and mouse beyond easy reach and straining to read a computer screen. These behaviours lead to hunched shoulders and tense muscles. Also, standing for long hours on a hard floor, as in a factory or on a sales floor, can cause hip and back pain.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover how to improve your posture at home and while you sleep on page 2.

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