Nothing paints a picture of your confidence better than the way you carry yourself. While you might like to blame this season’s giant handbag or your sky-high Manolos for your stooped shoulders and slumped posture, chances are slouching is a sign of your state of mind. Like wearing Primark trackies and no make-up to the office, bad posture is a classic giveaway of a self-image seriously stuck in the doldrums.
Life coach Irene Jordan says: ‘Slouching screams, “I don’t consider myself important”. It sends a signal to the outside world that you wish you were invisible. Simply by holding yourself better, you can deliver a massive confidence boost, and make a good impression at the same time.’
There are other benefits to having a good posture too. Personal trainer Matt Roberts, who’s worked with Madonna and Naomi Campbell, claims women can look like they’ve ‘instantly dropped 10lbs by improving the way they hold themselves: standing up straight, with their abdominals held in. Even clothes will fit and fall better’. It can also help you avoid back pain: an estimated 75 per cent of the UK population suffer from back problems at some point, often caused by bad posture.
So, what can we do to stand straight and walk tall?
Fitness expert Gemma McCartney from Lifetime Training says: ‘Poor muscular balance, fitness levels and excess weight can all affect posture, as can sitting cross-legged and wearing heels, both of which are detrimental to your pelvis and spine alignment. Pilates can help as it focuses on the deepest abdominal muscles, strengthening you from the inside out, helping to improve core stability’.
It’s yoga, however, that can have the biggest all-round effect. Yoga guru Danielle Nicholls says it’s the sense of body awareness yoga creates that is key. ‘All the mistakes women make with their posture – sticking their pelvis forward, slouching – come from a lack of awareness of how to make the body work at its best. Simple yoga techniques can help change that, bringing about wellbeing and body confidence.’