Posture is not just about the way you look. Good posture helps you breathe, helps contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system, and supports vital organ function, improving our overall well-being.
So, what is a good posture?
A good posture means your bones are properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as nature intended. And when that happens, your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency.
The head itself weighs about 12 Lbs, and every inch of forward head posture can increase the weight of the head by an additional 10 Lbs. Can you imagine this amount of pressure placed on your spine? Ouch!
Here are the negative effects of poor posture:
- Low energy levels – The shallow breathing created by bad posture causes our energy levels to lower greatly.
- Chronic neck and back pain – Sitting or standing in slouched positions for any extended period of time puts extreme stress on your back and neck. At first this pain may just be short and acute. However, over time poor posture can do as much as completely misalign your spine.
- Lack of oxygen flow throughout the body – The lungs function correctly when the diaphragm and rib cage properly expand. In essence, having poor posture restricts blood and oxygen flow because the expansion isn’t happening correctly.
- Heart problems – The muscle strain and poor posture of the spine and rib cage negatively impact your heart health. This is mostly because of the lack of blood flow that occurs when you hunch over for extended periods of time. Also, any type of misalignment of your spine has the trickle-down effect on other parts of your body.
- Migraines and tension headaches – migraines and tension headaches are most commonly seen in people who spend all day working at a desk. The strain placed on the body from holding oneself incorrectly makes a person vulnerable to migraines and tension headaches. The lack of blood and oxygen flow to the head is also a component of this type of pain.
- Lack of confidence – Some studies have shown a connection between someone who slouches and a lack of confidence. Often times these studies take it a step further saying that people who slouch when they walk tend to experience increased feelings of depression and decrease levels of energy.
- Digestion issues – Sitting for most of the day starts to constrict your intestines. The constriction of your intestines can make digestion a big problem. Poor posture has been attributed to issues like acid reflux and hernias.
Are you ready to correct your posture, and improve your health? Let’s do a quick self-assessment:
Sit on a chair and check if your:
- Feet are flat on the floor
- Head is straight and upright
- Legs are parallel to the floor
- Elbows are sitting at a 90-degree angle.
- Shoulders are relaxed and in line with your ears, and hips.
- Buttocks and lower back touch the back of the chair.
- Eyes are levelled with the computer screen.
Now let’s self-evaluate our standing posture facing a full-length mirror and check to see if:
- Your shoulders are levelled
- Your head is straight.
- The spaces between your arms and sides seem equal.
- Your hips are levelled, your kneecaps face straight ahead.
- Your ankles are straight.
Then stand with your side towards the mirror. This is much easier to do with the help of a friend or family member, or by taking a photo of yourself.
Check for the following:
- Head is erect, not slumping forward or backwards
- Chin is parallel to the floor, not tilting up or down.
- Shoulders are in-line with your ears, and not drooping forward or pulled back
- Knees are straight
- Lower back has a slightly forward curve (not too flat or not curved too much forward, creating a hollow back).
Now you have a sense of your posture habits.
Here are 7 exercises you can do to improve your posture
Click here to watch the video.
In just few minutes a day, you can have a tremendous effect on your health and improve the quality of your life significantly.
Much like we brush and floss our teeth for dental health, we need to work on our posture each and every day!
*This is not medical advice or treatment plan. It is intended for general education and demonstration purposes only. Consult with your healthcare professional before doing anything contained in this article or video.