Straighten up: Poor posture is bad for your health

A new study says that good posture can make you feel more powerful and increase your pain threshold.
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Sep 20, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

The next time you see fellow veterinary team members slouching, tell them to straighten up. Not only does poor posture make a bad impression, but it can make you physically weaker. According to a study by the USC Marshall School of Business and the University of Toronto, if you adopt more dominant poses you'll feel more powerful and in control, and be able to tolerate more distress.

The study says that the posture of your peers affects your pose and behavior. Researchers say that those adopting a submissive pose in response to their partner's dominant pose showed a lower threshold for pain. So when caregivers baby their human patients in an attempt to make things easier, they're forcing their patients into a more submissive position. According to the study, this could make the patients more susceptible to experiencing pain. Instead, caregivers should take a more submissive position and surrender control to those who are about to undergo a painful procedure to lessen the intensity of the pain experienced.

Adopting a powerful, expansive posture may also lead to elevated testosterone, which is associated with increased pain tolerance and decreased cortisol. This means it’s possible to make a distressing emotional event, like a breakup, less painful by assuming dominant poses. So the next time you’re going through a hard time, straighten up to stay strong.