Sit up straight! Stop slouching! Every time you hear this it’s likely that you find yourself sitting upright. But that quick change isn’t permanent and minutes later you might once again be hunched over a cell phone, computer or book.
Posture refers to the body’s alignment when sitting, standing, and lying down. The importance of good posture is often overlooked. However, good posture helps us breathe and move, and can affect your future health. When you have good posture, stress is evenly distributed through the muscles, ligaments, and spine. When the stress is better distributed, it decreases the wear and tear on your spine and joints.
Negative Effects of Poor Posture
Besides being a bad look, poor posture can negatively impact your health in ways you may have never expected.
Worsens Stress & Depression
A study completed at San Francisco State University found that those who slouched while walking experienced increased feelings of depression and lethargy.
When you sit, your body constricts your heart, lungs, and intestines. Slouching has been attributed to digestive issues, such as acid reflex, and can also lead to a more pronounced tummy as a result of a weak core.
Back & Shoulder Pain
The most common effects of poor posture are back, shoulder and neck pain. Poor posture at work, day in and day out, can put a great deal of stress on the upper body. The extension of the neck when using a smartphone can also contribute to slouching, which will then lead to neck and back pain.
Those who sit for prolonged periods of time are putting tension and strain on their bodies all day long. When the stress moves into the neck, shoulders, and spine, it will eventually move into the head to become a tension headache. Other factors, like obesity and muscle tone, could put you at great risk for posture-related tension headaches.
Correcting Your Posture
If you’re wondering how to have good posture while sitting, it’s simple. Place your feet firmly on the floor with your knees and hips bent to form a 90-degree angle. If your feet do not reach the ground, consider using a small step stool or box to elevate your feet and form the correct angle. Roll your shoulders back, but do not strain them, they should be relaxed. Your ears, shoulders, and hips should all be in-line with each other. Lumbar support rolls and cushions can also help you maintain good posture while at work, in the car, while traveling, and more.
When standing, your ears, shoulders, hips and ankles should be a vertical line. You should also keep your core tight while standing and walking.
There are many benefits of good posture, including the prevention of muscle aches and spinal disc problems, stress reduction, improved brain function, building a stronger core, and so much more. So, next time someone tells you to stop slouching and sit up straight, listen to them.