We’ve all been told at some point in our lives to sit up straight, stop slouching, or some other reprimand regarding our posture. When you hold yourself up in a posture that is pleasing to your scolding grandma, you look more confident, professional, and even thinner. Those things may not have mattered to us when we were kids, but as more self-aware adults, we recognize the impact good posture can have on how we are perceived.
What many of us may not be aware of is the impact posture has on our overall health. Straightening your spine and pulling your shoulders back may give you the confident stature you’re going for in your next business meeting or on your next date, but it’ll do so much more than that.
The Impacts of Poor Posture
Poor Posture Leads to Fatigue
It takes more energy to maintain poor posture than good posture requires. Your body has to compensate for the poor posture, exhausting your muscles and thus impacting your overall energy. If you spend most of your day bogged down by fatigue, adjusting your posture could be just what your tired body needs.
Poor Posture Equals Lower Self-Esteem
Studies have found that upright posture impacts negative and positive thought. The short of it is, it is easier to recall positive thoughts when you use good posture. In addition, using good posture boosts self-esteem, giving you the same confidence of someone in a higher position of power.
Poor Posture Messes with Your Emotions
It’s true that our bodies will often reflect how we feel. When we’re sad, we tend to slouch and look downward. But it is also true that when we take on the posture of sadness, it affects how we feel. It’s called embodied cognition. Next time you’re feeling down, stand up straight and see what happens.
Poor Posture Leaves You with Aches and Pains
Poor posture is, by definition, holding yourself in a position that is contrary to how your body should be. The logical response to this is strained and fatigued muscles leading to aches and pains all throughout the body.
Poor Posture Can Lead to Chronic Headaches
The strain placed on your neck and spine as a result of poor posture will often lead to painful headaches. The muscles in your neck are tensed and tightened as they work against your poor posture, which sends pain radiating up to your head.
Poor Posture Contributes to Digestive Issues
If you spend most of your day hunched in a desk chair, your digestive organs are also hunched inside of you. Without regular breaks for stretching and walking, and an adjustment of your posture, you’re going to have some stoppage issues.
Poor Posture Inhibits Quality Breathing
In order for your lungs to fill with oxygen, they need space to expand. Poor posture limits the amount of air you can take in, restricting the vital oxygen your whole body needs. This can lead to short breaths becoming the norm, which in turn causes you to feel tense and anxious easily and regularly.
Poor Posture Exacerbates Arthritis
When poor posture is your norm, you’re wreaking havoc on your spine. The malalignment of your spine leads to all sorts of health issues, but for those with arthritis, it can cause you to put extra pressure on certain joints. If you suffer from arthritis especially in your hips, knees, or ankles, you’re at risk of exacerbating it with your poor posture.
What To Do About Poor Posture
Poor posture doesn’t always mean slouching. Sometimes we can overcompensate by standing too tall and rigid. Here are some basic tips for just the right posture:
- While sitting, keep both feet on the floor, toes facing forward. Your knees should be at or below the level of yours hips with your chin level to the floor. Use a chair that has back support for your low and mid back. Relax your shoulders.
- When standing, keep your feet shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. Pull your shoulders back, bear most of your weight on the balls of your feet, and keep your earlobes over your shoulders.
- When lying down, use a pillow both under your head and between or under your knees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Invest in a quality mattress that suits your needs.
Visit Your Chiropractor
A lifetime of poor posture isn’t something that can be quickly fixed. Setting up an appointment with Dr. Derrick for an assessment and adjustment is the ideal first step to improving your posture and, as a result, improving your overall health.