To some extent, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the things we consider beautiful usually share certain characteristics, with symmetry and vitality being chief among them, says CEO Bill Schultz.
“The human body is an excellent example,” says Schultz, president of posture innovator AlignMed, www.alignmed.com, and recent recipient of a special Congressional Recognition certificate for his contributions. “The people we view as physically attractive are usually healthy and symmetrical in appearance. That’s not a coincidence; postural symmetry and good health go hand in hand.”
Good posture – holding the head, shoulders and trunk in perfect alignment – creates balance, which allows our many physiological systems to function optimally, Schultz says. When we habitually sit, stand or walk in a less than a fully aligned position, muscles stretch or contract to accommodate. This can result in chronic imbalances that can lead to pain. Studies dating back to the 19th century also suggest our posture affects mood, energy and self-confidence, all of which affect how attractive we appear to others.
“You don’t see supermodels, A-list actors or the rest of the ‘beautiful people’ slouched over as they strut down the runway or red carpet,” Schultz notes.
“Think about the importance of posture among the most challenging sports; for track runners, ballerinas and gymnasts, optimal posture is essential,” says Schultz, who explores four ways in which posture is part of the beauty-health connection.
• It’s not just sitting for hours on end that’s bad for you; it’s how one sits. The dangers of sitting have garnered plenty of attention in recent years, especially since we have become a society of sitters. Sitting for long periods comes with many health risks, including obesity and cardiovascular disease. But sitting with less than perfect posture – most frequently, sitting with the head and should in a forward position over a desk — can cause significant neck pain, which involves muscles and nerves from the neck down. Proper posture can prevent neck and spinal damage.