Remember how your mom kept nagging you to stand or sit up straight? She had a reason for doing that. Your poor posture has more influence on your health than you may think.
You may like to slouch over while sitting or standing, but it is no longer about likes or dislikes. Once you have grown up, you have to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Not that you intended otherwise, but it was somehow imposed on you.
With this lifestyle and over-obsession with smartphones, you are not giving your body any chance to stay in a good posture.
But What Good Posture Is All About?
Good posture is also called a neutral spine. In an expert’s words, good posture is when the muscles around the spine manifest balance and support the body evenly.
You can check right now if your posture is good or poor. If you are sitting, your feet should rest flat on the floor while your weight should be distributed evenly on your hips.
Moreover, your back should be straight. Do not worry about the natural curves, i.e., on cervical, thoracic, and lumbar areas, as they are meant to be). Your ears should be right above your collarbones while your shoulders are back and relaxed.
If you are standing, your knees should be slightly bent, which means neither you are hyperextending now, locking your knee joints.
As for why good posture is necessary, you would be surprised to know that it prevents you from specific health issues and determines how you look at the world and, above all, yourself.
Why is Poor Posture Bad?
If your posture is not good, you can have several health issues, including anxiety. A bad posture can ruin your day-to-day routine. It brings pain in different areas of your body and changes your outlook towards the world.
Low Back Pain
Poor posture resulting from standing or sitting in a hunched position for an extended period strains your lower back. It stresses the posterior structures of your spine, including facet joints, intervertebral discs, muscles, and ligaments. If you are having low back pain for weeks, it may be time for you to check how you sit or stand for most of the day.
You may face pelvic floor dysfunction if you have a bad posture in the lumbopelvic areas. It can cause trouble with urinary retention and pain during constipation or intercourse. If you are undergoing any such problem, stretch a few times during the day.
You may no longer need to go to pelvic specialists. That does not imply that it is a replacement or an alternative to proper treatment. Nevertheless, standing up and moving around during your lunch break would not hurt you much.
Yes, you can also have headaches from poor posture, which causes tension headaches. When your posture is incorrect, it increases muscle tension at the back of your health. Once the position has been corrected, the muscle tension will reduce and alleviate the headaches.
Lower Energy Level
When your joints and bones lack alignment, your body cannot properly use your muscles. This results in fatigue and low energy. Your muscles must work hard in the wake of this ‘de-alignment.’
Poor posture can lead to pain and alignment shifts, making finding a comfortable sleeping position difficult. This pain may be the culprit behind what you call insomnia.
Tension in Your Neck and Shoulders
Your frequent use of smartphones has given you a forward-head posture, which may have gone unnoticed. Nevertheless, this neglected thing is wreaking havoc on your health. It puts pressure on your shoulder, upper back, and neck in the face of improper alignment.
It even impacts your mood and brain function. A Brazilian study conducted in 200 found that posture had a great link with major depressive order. During the instances of depression, the stance of the participants changed. This posture change also included a forward head posture.
Abnormal Wearing of the Joint Surfaces
Although your body wears down naturally with time, maintaining a good posture can prevent or at least delay it. Moreover, if your posture is uneven, more issues and pain will come when you reach the stage where your joints wear down.
Decreased Lungs Capacity
When you slouch, you compress your lungs. Whereas, if you are sitting straight and standing taller, you are giving more space to your lungs to expand.
This premise is also valid from research published in the BioMed Research International journal. It took into account 35 healthy young males aged 18-35 years.
The study indicated that the lung capacity decreased in a slouch position and improved significantly when the participants sat upright.
Poor Circulation and Digestion
Poor posture also impacts your digestion and blood circulation. When you sit in a slouching position, you are compressing your vital organs. If your vital organs remain compressed, your circulation gets cramped, and your digestion gets affected.
Proper blood flow required adequate alignment. Therefore, avoid such positions that put a strain on your vital organs. Crossing our legs is The most common thing that disrupts our blood flow.
As for digestion issues, poor posture can cause acid reflux or heartburn. In a hunched position, you would be compressing the organs in the abdomen, making it harder for your body to digest food and affect metabolism.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
This syndrome may sound new to you, but that does not mean it is not uncomfortable. Slumped shoulders and forward head positions can constrain the nerves and blood vessels in the lower neck and upper chest. This syndrome is characterized by mild tingling, tingling, and in some cases, pain, and impaired circulation.
Usually, the symptoms diffuse, but if the syndrome goes untreated, it can cause severe problems like blood clots and swelling.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Pain
Your mandibular joint and jaw muscles undergo tension and stress in a forward head posture. It can contribute to pain while you eat, yawn, talk, and also can result in a headache. Stress is a significant trigger of this pain, and when you are stressing your muscles, too, it can only worsen your condition.
Low Core and Scapular Strength
You require muscular effort to maintain a good posture. However, the situation goes the other way around too. When you are not keeping a good posture, your core and upper back muscles cannot work correctly, or at least optimally, which causes fatigue and renders you weak.
While if you maintain a good posture, your core and scapular muscles become engaged and active.
You may not even notice that when sitting or standing with a bad posture. But when exercising with poor posture, you have a considerable risk of getting injured, especially while squatting. The high risk is because exercise involves stretching your muscles, and if they are already stressed along with the poorly aligned bones and joints, they are very likely to cave into the pressure and sprain.
You appear pretty much shorter than your height with a poor posture. A good posture always makes you more attractive. It gives you a taller and slimmer look while making your abdominals look more defined. That may be another reason behind the evergreen charm of Emma Watson and Robin Wright.
Reduced Self Confidence
As mentioned earlier, your posture determines how you look at yourself. A poor posture decreases your self-confidence, affecting your confidence in your thoughts.
In a study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University, when asked to sit up straight, people tended to believe in the thoughts they wrote down about whether they qualified for a job.
How to Improve Your Posture?
With that said, enough, your posture needs to be perfect. Change your position if you cannot keep the same posture for long. If you have gotten tired of sitting upright, you can stand up and go for a walk or so. Nevertheless, here are a few simple steps to maintain a good posture.
Sit Up Straight
Like your mother, every chiropractor and doctor would require you to sit straight. Not only that, you need to sit up upright as if somebody has yanked your hair straight up in the air (the simile may be horrific, but focus on the essence).
It would be best if you were not dipped, nor should your spine be curved). All you need to do is sit upright and look straight ahead. Your feet should touch the floor while your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
Do Not Sit on Your Foot
This is the cause of disagreement between the practice of sitting cross-legged and the experts. It disrupts the blood circulation.
Moreover, putting weight on one foot than other can also result in circulation issues. As for sitting on a foot, women are guiltier for doing this. It causes severe external rotational problems with the hip and knee you are straining.
Be Mindful of Your Sitting Posture
Even if you are sitting in a perfect chair, it will not help you if you are not sitting in the correct posture. Your body must be in a neutral posture. Moreover, shifting positions frequently can also alleviate pressure on joints and ligaments.
While sitting, you must ensure that your back remains supported and upright or reclining slightly. Your head should align with the torso, and your shoulders be relaxed, with your upper arms remaining accessible and close to your body.
Your elbows must be bent, rendering your forearms almost parallel to the floor. As for your knees, they should be aligned with your hips.
Heels, Whither Away
If you intend to keep that necessary 90-degree angle when seated, you have to shun away from your heels. However, if you cannot do that, wear them once in a while and that too sparingly.
Not only do heels affect your sitting posture, but they can also ruin your vertical alignment. Standing while wearing heels can create an increased lumbar curve in the lower back.
Another harmless thing is the wallet in your back pocket. Sitting on anything bulky can leave your body in a situation that can twist your pelvis.
Work but Avoid Wearing Out
If you have a desk-bound job, you must be more cautious about your posture. It would be best if you were eye to eye with the computer monitor, i.e., your eyes should be on the level with its top. If you must work on a desk while standing, its top should be slightly above your waist to ensure you are working at elbow height.
If you are sitting, your thighs should fit underneath easily. Do not lean over the table surface. Getting closer to the edge will prevent you from doing that.
The way you sit or stand has a lot of influence on your overall health. It even determines the way you look at yourself. Poor posture can create many health issues and disrupt your daily life.
So, no matter how busy you are, how important your next presentation is, or how late you are getting to prepare the food for the dinner party, you must realize that you will only accomplish all this if your health is by your side.
Therefore, to be mentally and physically healthy, be mindful of your posture, keep exercising, and take a walk every while.