Stand Up For Yourself!

I was talking to a lady the other day about weight loss and strength training. I was giving her some ideas on my favorite strength training exercises and she asked me this question. “Does it do any good to suck in your stomach when you are walking or sitting down?” I told her I honestly didn’t know if it really made a difference. So I asked my favorite fitness person, Jody-Fit at 52. Jody looks amazing and is ultra fit.

Jody told me that

“As for “holding in your stomach”… well, it is not so much holding in your stomach BUT holding the core tight, if you get that. Just “sucking it in” is not the way too go. You have to be aware of your posture & hold the core tight. Sit up straight, stand up straight & do not slouch, same when walking. You have to be aware of that. I always tell people that once you are sitting for a bit but not thinking about it, all of a sudden, check out your posture.. most times, we are slouching. Same with standing or walking.. catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror or a window. People are usually surprised at what they see.
 
Any time you engage that core while doing anything and I mean anything including cleaning, playing with kids, picking up things, you are working it. In fact, just working out, if you are maintaining proper form, you are engaging the core.
 
A person can even sit on a stability ball while watching TV or reading & you really have to work the core to stay upright & not fall off!”
 Her response made me remember the exercise I always start my weight loss class with. I always ask the new participants. “Do you want to lose five pounds right now? Right this minute?!” They always laugh and say yes. So I tell them to stand up in front of their chairs. I look around the room and say: “Now, Stand Up Straight!” They all stand up straighter and they all look better. Here’s an example from yours truly. I had my daughter take my picture yesterday afternoon to compare the difference. Same outfit. Same position. Different posture. Different core engagement.
 
Slumping a bit here:
 

And here I am consciously engaging my core abdominal muscles and standing up straight and tall.

I think the difference is pretty dramatic. I need to remember to engage my core muscles all the time – when I’m standing, when I’m sitting and when I’m walking.  I’ve gotten a lot more consistent with strength training this summer. I use my Gym in a Bag frequently and do core work on my stability ball.

How are you at engaging your core and standing up for yourself? Can you see a difference when you do?  Diane

42 thoughts on “Stand Up For Yourself!

  1. Sara N. says:

    You look much better in the second picture. It is amazing how standing up straight makes us look and feel better. I really need to work on my posture and do more core exercises. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Moria says:

    I’ve been working on my core muscles and can tell a difference in my posture. It’s true that when we stand or sit we tend to slump over – I know I do. I think that cardio is great, but you’ve got to work the muscles that support your core or you will not get as strong and as fit.

  3. Marcelle says:

    Makes a HUGE difference.
    Being a dancer I am so aware of this and find I do it in all situations in my life..
    I remember at school I got a deportment badge as I sat up straight and most school going kids slouch ~ when I run or train I am always pulling in my abs…
    At least doing one thing right….:)

  4. Amy says:

    So true – this makes a big difference! Thanks for pointing it out because I think it is easy to forget about posture.

  5. Tara says:

    This is EXACTLY why yoga had made me feel taller and slimmer! Because it’s made me more aware of my shoulders and how I stand, walk and hold myfelf. My posture is better and I look THINNER.

  6. Alissa says:

    Wow- that is a huge difference. I’m going to being standing/sitting up straight more often! Who knew it could help me shed 5 lbs? 😉 I have a habit of slouching a lot, so I really need to work on this one.

  7. Diane says:

    Not only does engaging your core make you look thinner, but it conveys a more positive, confident attitude, which many seem to find to be “sexy”. Stand up straight, engage that core and smile !!! it makes a world of difference

  8. emergefit says:

    I agree with all of this and really appreciate your angle. I will also add the the primary reason to maintain good posture, in and out of the gym, is to protect your spine!!!!

  9. Tami says:

    What a great reminder to stand tall! Hubby recently took some progress photos of me and I saw one where I was slouching and yes indeed I looked terrible that way.

    I think it is easier to stand tall when you are feeling better about yourself and dare I say when my breasts are smaller and less heavy it is easier to stand tall!

  10. Big Clyde says:

    Good reminder. I know that when I have eaten well for several days in a row, I tend to have a somewhat flatter stomach and stand more upgright with better posture. But, I should just be more aware of posture all the time.

  11. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    It’s not just that I look better, but I actually *feel* better when I’m standing tall and being mindful of my posture. (My desk posture is still lousy, but it’s all a a process, right?:))

  12. Mbini says:

    This is where I fail I must say. I read about this over and over again, but do I ever listen? No I never. I have to always remind myself.

  13. Marsial2010 says:

    Thanks for the reminder — I always thought I had excellent posture, but I’ve caught my reflection a couple of times lately and I’ve become lax and have been slouching.

  14. vickie says:

    this post made me smile

    and I went to a chiroprator at my heaviest
    the most beneficial thing she could have done was stand me in front of a full length mirror and SHOW ME how I was hunching.

    I now firmly believe that one much do the toning exercise to move everything into the correct, supported position (all the time) instead of just trying to force it back, week after week (with nothing to hold it).

    AND

    -5 pounds for posture
    -5 additional pounds with a really good bra

  15. cindy says:

    This is a great reminder and I need to be more aware of my posture. As I was reading your post I realized i was slouching in the chair. I straighten up eal fast and it feels better.

  16. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    I’m terrible at it. I’m so tall that it really results in inches of height being gained or lost according to my core engagement. I’ve become more aware of it as I’ve started an abs/core regimen. I’m so sore it feels better to engage. It’s nice.

  17. Julie from Cannes now USA says:

    It’s too funny as you read that on your chair in front of your computer you straight and engage your core/abs as you were bad sitting before…

    Too funny!!

  18. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Diane, thx for the shout out!!!! And the visual is AMAZING!!!! Such a little thing can make a HUGE difference! And as many of your readers said, you feel better too! Got to love that!!!!

    An example I mentioned to Diane was when people do push-ups.. and if you think about that, it is a plank as well as a push-up that works the chest, arms & more. Think about the many things you do when you exercise or just do regular day stuff… it all can turn into core work! 🙂

    Thx again Diane!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Shawnee says:

    I tried to get my boss to let me have a stability ball. But because of where my desk is located (right in front of the door) he said no. BOOO. I think it would show clients that we are a health conscious organization. Ahwell. This is something i need to work on.

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  21. Taryl says:

    My posture can be terrible. I round my shoulders awfully, and I already carry some fat there to begin with, so it looks like i have a hump back if I am not cautious! But when I try to make an effort on my posture, or to sit on the stability ball, it makes a HUGE difference!

  22. Waisting Time says:

    I am so bad about this! My husband will sometimes jokingly pull my shoulders back. I do look better that way. Worst is that both of my boys are noticeably slouching.

  23. Babbalou says:

    Before I start my daily walk I try to remember to briefly do the yoga mountain pose, which is a standing up straight, sholders back, good posture pose and then I start walking. Nothing bothers me more than seeing someone clearly doing a walk for exercise with terrible posture – I think they’re asking for long term back problems!

    I also second the “great shoes” comment.

  24. LovesCatsinCA says:

    WOW, what a difference. Thanks for modelling the difference. I find that remembering my core helps me to have less back issues. I also bought a pair of the shape up type shoes and they help me stand taller (plus add an inch) and they DO engage the core muscles… The most important thing though is that I have arthritis/inflammation in the little sesamoid joint (where bunions are) and the rocking action makes it less painful to walk.

  25. Hanlie says:

    Gosh, I remember doing this and actually being amazed at the results… Thanks for reminding me, Diane! The difference is rather significant, and for someone as obese as myself, correcting the posture takes a huge load off the organs.

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