English football's first female chartered physiotherapist reveals why good posture is the key to success.
Raise Your Game: Why is posture important?
Sammy Margo: As a teenager you're so aware of your body. You're changing shape, you're getting boobs, you're getting a belly, you're growing and what happens is quite often you can't quite fit into your own body. You're just learning about yourself. For girls, you're coming into a world of boys and you're being exposed to fashion, whereby you're showing off parts of your body.
Posture is fundamental for your body confidence. It teaches you how to hold yourself properly, it makes you feel less tired and makes your joints, bones, muscles and digestive system function properly. You look slimmer and in just 10 seconds you can go from being slumpy to standing up straight and looking much better.
RYG: Can good posture improve an individual's health?
SM: It can improve your energy levels, your digestive system and it can improve your circulation. You can actually look longer, taller and slimmer because your tummy goes from being squidgy to upright. You can have broader shoulders and you will actually look better, feel better and project a better image.
This will make a massive difference to your future prospects in whatever career you get into in terms of interviews, even if inside you're not feeling so confident, it will physically make a massive difference.
RYG: Can people unlearn bad habits?
SM: People can unlearn bad habits and they can do that through physiotherapy and Pilates. We treat many people who spend 10-12 hours sitting at a desk job in the same posture. Years later the posture that they've been in throughout their lives catches up with them and what we see now is elderly people who actually look like a chair all scrunched up. So posture can actually change how they feel about themselves and how they feel about their lives.
RYG: Are there any simple daily exercises that people can do to ensure that their posture doesn't suffer as a result?
SM: We're leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles and we're sitting for prolonged periods, be it as students, at home or in the office. There are some really simple things that you can do in the chair:
- Make sure your bottom is all the way into the back of the chair so that you're sitting tall.
- Make sure that your workstation is set up correctly so that your eyes are in line with the top of the computer screen and that you're sitting well into the desk.
- The mouse should be where your knife would be, as opposed to where your drinking glass should be.
- It's important to take intermittent breaks when you're working. Make sure that you get up and move about, shake yourself a bit and just resume a good sitting posture.
RYG: Can good posture improve your confidence in an interview situation?
SM: When you go for a job interview first impressions really do count. If you're in an interview looking very meek and mild, cross-legged, cross-armed with a weak, shallow 'Hello my name is Jane Smith,' versus somebody who looks really confident, sitting tall and back into the chair with an open chest and a projecting voice 'Hello my name is Jane Smith,' there's quite a big difference.