Race to Health: Proper Posture for Efficient Energy Expenditure
“David has more energy than he’s had in years, he is running again, and at 59 years old he is in better shape now than at 40 years old!” This is the statement Rosa used to explain her husband David, who had been suffering from severe depression just a few months prior.
Once David began postural correction care, he started noticing a cascade of positive health effects, including more energy and less lethargy. How is it possible that structural postural correction led to more energy for David? More importantly, how can your patients feel better, have more energy, and begin their race to health?
Structure Dictates Function
The Posture System is the neuromusculoskeletal system of the body that holds the body upright against the ever present force of gravity. Postural Fitness is the term that refers to efficient and sustainable structure and function of the Posture System.
Postural collapse is just the opposite, referring to weak and inefficient utilization of energy to hold the body upright. The Posture System is divided into 4 principle posture quadrants. The postural presentation of posture quadrant 2 has the most significant effect on efficiency of energy expenditure.
Posture quadrant 2 includes the thoracic spine and thorax extending down to the superior aspect of the diaphragm. A postural distortion pattern of posture quadrant 2 in which the trunk is flexed anteriorly in relation to posture quadrant 3 demonstrates inefficiency in energy utilization.
The Neuroendocrine Connection Between Posture and Energy Expenditure
According to Saha et al. (2007), when patients present with a trunk flexed posture, their level of oxygen consumption is greater, and the change in muscle activation leads to greater energy expenditure.
An interesting study evaluated the kinematics of running for triathletes and marathon runners. They found that triathletes tend to have less energy at the end of a race because they have a more flexed forward posture after biking than marathon runners do from just running. Upright posture supports efficiency in energy expenditure (Hausswirth, 1997).
When patients present with postural collapse, the Posture System utilizes more metabolic energy to stay upright, leading to lethargy. The use of more energy in this case has a negative health impact. Postural collapse is associated with greater stress to the body and a higher release of cortisol.
The neuroendocrine effect of proper posture is just the opposite of postural collapse. Carney et al. (2010) demonstrated that patients who present with proper posture have lower levels of cortisol. Levine et al. (2005) determined the connection between proper posture and decreased obesity, stating that individuals with intentional changes of posture during activities of daily living burn 350 calories more per day on average in comparison to patients who present with sedentary postural presentations.
The connection of posture and energy expenditure explains why David was feeling more energetic during his treatment plan of postural correction. His postural transformation helped him make the leap from a sedentary lifestyle to liveliness and vitality. With a renewed state of energy, David had the motivation to compete in a 10k race, a milestone on his journey to health and healing.