Good Posture And Vitality
( Originally Published 1936 )
What do we mean when we say a person has "it"? Somehow or other, we instinctively recognize the quality—both its presence and its absence, and we can classify our friends into those who have and do not have "it."
In analyzing the real nature of the quality the other day, a group of people finally agreed that "it" consists fundamentally in superior vitality. The person who has so much energy that it exudes out all over him—energy of the body, of the intellect, of the soul—is the person who fundamentally has "it."
Perhaps nothing contributes more to give the impression of this superior vitality than good posture. Perhaps we remember people more on account of their graceful carriage, effortless walk, easy assumption of different positions—sitting, playing games—than we do beauty of face, skin, hands, or figure.
GOOD POSTURE GIVES VITALITY
Certainly he who has a good posture and a good walking carriage should have vitality because poor posture necessarily drains energy and brings on fatigue. The head should rest in good balance on the top of the spine. When it does not, the improper balance is supported by the neck muscles, and the muscular strain involved produces fatigue more rapidly than in the well balanced posture. The same analogy applies to the position of the spine, which should fit squarely into the sacrum, that bone which is, in shape and in function, the key-stone of the bony ring of the hips—the pelvis.
Nearly all spines rest somewhat unbalanced on the sacrum, so that about 95 per cent of us have a slight curve in the lower or lumbar region of the spine. In most cases this does not involve any strain, but when accentuated it may bring on a number of symptoms associated with fatigue, malnutrition, constipation, loss of appetite, and a sense of mental depression.
How can we improve our standing posture? We can attain a good standing posture by throwing our shoulders back and rotating the palms of the hands out. Just take that position, allow your arms to hang, and rotate your hands so the palms are forward. You instinctively expand your chest and want to take a deep breath. The two feet should be parallel, distributing the weight of the body equally on the balls of both feet.
A soldier at attention has a good posture so long as he does not keep his muscles strained. A plumb line dropped from the lobe of the ear of a person in good posture should pass through the line of the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle.