Remember when you were a kid and your mom would reprimand you for slouching in your chair? “Sit up straight!” “Don’t slouch!” As it turns out, the mothers were on to something there, and you know what they say – moms know best!
Essentially, posture refers to your body’s alignment and positioning with respect to the ever-present force of gravity. Whether we are standing, sitting, or lying down, gravity has a significant affect on our joints, ligaments, and muscles. Even throughout the night, if sleeping is a pain in your neck, literally, the blame could fall on bad posture.
Proper posture is about more than just maintaining a confident and respectable stature. It also helps prevent health problems, most notably back-related ones. When your back is straight, the sensitive spine is supported and stabilized.
Slouching, however, puts unnecessary strain on the spinal cord, which leads to imbalance, minimal support, and a variety of health complications down the road, such as:
- Sore Muscles: The most common effect of poor posture is sore muscles because it forced them to have to work harder in order to keep the spine stabilized and protected.
- Chronic Back Pain: The muscles, ligaments, and discs in your back region are under excessive stress when the spine is curved over or not aligned properly. Strong and healthy muscles are what prevent the spinal cord from extending beyond its normal range of motion, which is essential in protecting the ligaments and disks from injury.
- Tension Headaches: Being hunched over puts additional strain on your neck, upper back, and shoulders. This tension will typically lead to annoying and persistent headaches.
- Fatigue: Fatigue may be a rather generic form of pain, but it is also common issue for those with bad posture because tired and tight muscles cannot offer optimal support. As a result of overworked muscles, your body lacks energy overall, which leads to feelings of fatigue.
Avoiding those uncomfortable health problems is good enough reason as is to whip your posture into shape, but there are actually a number of other benefits to proper posture as well:
- Look Better. Bad posture is simply not attractive because it depicts a lack of confidence and makes you seem unapproachable, or sometimes even anti-social.
- Feel Better. Believe it or not, practicing proper posture can actually make you feel better about yourself by improving your sense of self confidence.
- Breathe Better. When properly aligned and supported, your body is able to inhale and exhale more efficiently, which ultimately makes breathing easier and more natural.
- Think Better. As a result of improved breathing, you are then able to think and concentrate more effectively by feeding your brain optimal levels of oxygen.
If poor posture is something that you struggle with, take a stand to stand up straight from now on so that you can reap the rewards and avoid unpleasant health problems. Upon doing so, it might not hurt to give your mom a call and admit that she was right all those years.
About the Author
This guest post was written by Kaity Nakagoshi, the Online Community Director for a online physician services directory. Kaity graduated from the University of South Florida and is a native to the “sunshine state”. She enjoys writing, online shopping, golf, and hot yoga (for better posture!).