Can bad posture affect your testosterone levels?
Having a good posture is a vital part of our health and overall wellbeing. From decreased lower back pain to fewer headaches and even more energy, sitting or standing up straight is very beneficial. But what about its impact on our hormones? And more specifically, can bad posture affect your testosterone levels?
Yes, having a bad posture (e.g. hunching or slouching) has a negative effect on testosterone levels, according to a 2010 study courtesy of the Harvard Business School (1).
This research data shows that certain nonverbal displays of posture influence neuroendocrine and hormone levels.
But here’s how posture impacts the primary male hormone in more detail.
Holding a Power Pose for 2 Minutes Increases Testosterone by 20%
It also lowers cortisol levels by 25% in the brain, according to what the social psychologist Amy Cuddy found while researching body language as evident from her TED Talks presentation (2).
Her findings reveal the benefits of ‘power posing’ and more specifically, utilizing a posture that portrays confidence even when you don’t feel confident.
Amy Cuddy claims that doing a power pose not only impacts your cortisol and testosterone levels but could also potentially boost your chances for success, especially when it comes to job interviews.
Quite interestingly, she also reports that a good, power posture can give us a sense of power that translates into being more likely to take action, optimistic, positive and in control.
Eventually, professor Cuddy points out that these positive hormonal changes can make you more fearless, confident, risk-tolerant, assertive and even calmer.
Open Postures Reflect Power and May Even Improve Cognitive Functioning
A more detailed look at the aforementioned Harvard Business School research reveals potential cognition-enhancing benefits of open, power postures (3).
On one hand, feelings of power may decrease anxiety and stress, which should supposedly make you more enthusiastic, confident and captivating.
Moreover, feeling powerful also leads to enhanced cognitive functioning, which suggests that high-power postures and poses may potentially improve speech quality as a great tool for delivering better presentations.
This data shows us that preparatory power posing can be a simple tool that everyone can use and benefit from, especially when it comes to improving confidence, speech and even hormone levels.
Can Posture Affect Mood?
Absolutely – good posture can definitely improve your mood, while poor posture can make you feel miserable.
And here’s what relevant studies have to say about the connection between posture and mood:
- A 2015 randomized controlled trial examined how sitting upright or slumped affects stress responses in people. What researchers found is that sitting upright boosts a positive mood while also helping build resilience to stress (4)
- Another study, but from 2017 and published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that an upright posture can improve mild-to-moderate depression. The participants in this study registered less fatigue and anxiety as a result of sitting more upright (5)
- Researchers from a different study, published in the Biofeedback journal in 2012 discovered identical results. People who had a slouched posture while walking were more depressed and less energetic than their upright counterparts (6)
This very solid academic data clearly shows that the way we stand and sit has an obvious impact on how we feel.
Does Testosterone Make You Confident?
Yes, testosterone has a positive effect on the confidence of men, as evident by relevant scientific papers.
A 2018 scientific review published in the Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience journal examined the impact of testosterone and cortisol on risk-taking (7).
What researchers found is that prenatal testosterone exposure (in the womb) has a very powerful effect on the behavior and physiology of males.
Moreover, one of the studies observed in this scientific review reported that adult men who administered testosterone experienced an increase in optimism and confidence.
What are Signs of High Testosterone?
Men who have high or very high levels of testosterone may experience the following things:
- Increased risk-taking
- More aggression
- High libido
- Mood swings
- Increased appetite
- Prostate enlargement
- Heart or liver issues
However, men who have very high levels of the primary male hormone are very rare to find naturally.
Obtaining above-the-norm levels of testosterone is typically found in men who use anabolic steroids i.e. synthetic testosterone (typically in the form of injections).
It’s worth mentioning that other possible reasons for high T levels in men may also include testicle and adrenal gland tumors.
However, according to the Columbia Adrenal Center, adrenal tumors tend to be quite rare as they can be found in 2 out of every 1 million males (8).
Studies show that 264 to 916 ng/dl is the Normal Testosterone Range for Men
This is what a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism from 2017 reveals, based on data gathered from over 9,000 men (aged between 19 and 39 years) in the US and Europe.
Thus, anything above 916 ng/dl would be considered abnormally high and it might be cause for concern unless you’re using anabolic steroids.
Clearly, posture has a defined and evidence-based impact on our overall health.
Interestingly enough, this translates to the hormone levels of men, especially testosterone that can be affected by the way you sit and stand.
As already mentioned in the article, the Scottish psychologist Amy Cuddy claims that utilizing a power posture for 2 minutes can increase your testosterone levels by 20%.
A good example of a typical power posture would be standing with your feet apart while holding your hands on your hips and keeping your chin tilted upward.
Now, make sure to check our other content to see how we can help you to improve your posture and reap all the benefits associated with standing and sitting the right way!