Most of your parents would demand that you sit up and stop slouching while growing up, for no other reason than it might make you look bad. But there are as many elements to the importance of a good posture, elements that might be affecting millions of people every hour of every day. A posture represents both the enduring characteristics of a person and his/her current emotions and attitudes. Your posture says a lot about your personality. Moreover, it also says a lot about how your joints and muscles are working. From neck and backache to blood flow and respiration, posture can have a significant impact on how you live and how you feel every day. How you look and how you feel is directly related to your posture.
The Posture Problem
In many ways, your mood influences muscle tone, your energy level, and your internal sense of well-being. A body posture can reveal your current state of mind. Anger, sadness, and disgust are believed to be the most recognized body postures and are indicative of emotions. One important element is stress which can affect your posture subconsciously, one way or another. A person under stress is more likely to have a greater amount of muscle tension, which in turns also affect his/her clavicular breathing. Everything good that happens with your body starts with good posture.
The problem is despite knowing the importance of having a good posture, most of us don’t do anything relevant to improve it. We just go on with our lives with hunched backs and imbalanced hips, which we think is normal like everything else. We tend to deal with the adverse effects of bad posture in our own ways and yet we do not want to change the factors that are causing the problem. Living with a bad posture is as good as not doing anything to achieve a good posture. And living with bad posture can be a dangerous thing. The misalignment of muscle and ligaments can result in all sorts of problems:
- Chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain
- Foot, hip, knee, and back injuries
- Frequent headaches
- Pain in the lower back
- Body aches
- Fatigue and stiffness
- Forward hip tilt
- Rounded shoulders
- Muscle atrophy and weakness
- Over-pronated feet
- Digestion issues
- Difficulty in breathing
- Impingement and nerve compression
Do any of the above problems sound familiar to you? Are you experiencing similar symptoms? Correcting your posture may feel awkward at first because your body has become very used to sitting and standing in a particular way. But with a bit of practice and exercises, you can learn about your own postural deviations and determine which workout plans will work best to improve your body posture. With proper alignment and good posture, your lifts tend to become stronger, your muscles and joints will function more efficiently, and you’ll feel more confident and look much better.
Bad Posture Can Make You Unhealthy
Do you slouch more often while you work at your desk or walk with a hunched back? Well, the way you carry yourself, can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. When you repeat poor posture every day, whether intentionally or unintentionally, your body structure starts to adapt to the changes which ultimately results in misalignment and pain. We all make these common mistakes on a daily basis without realizing the adverse effects of it. Our body is designed for movement, not to sit idle for long periods of time. While we all make mistakes, there are a few postural mistakes than can take a toll on your health.
- Sitting at a desk for long hours with bad posture; for instance, sitting hunched over a computer screen for so long can cause pain in the neck, back and shoulder. Your spine is designed to lay straight, but it becomes curved at this spot, which eventually causes the chest muscles to tighten, eventually making it weak.
- Slouching in a chair doesn’t always cause discomfort, but over an extended period of time, this posture starts to place strain on already sensible muscles and soft tissues, which ultimately increases tension in the muscles leading to cause pain.
- Wearing high heels or excessive weight around the stomach or pregnancy can have a pronounced curve in your lower back. This is an exaggerated inward curve of the lower back which can cause hyperlordosis. Core and buttock strengthening exercises might help with the posture.
- Improper footwear or obesity can result in over-pronation of the feet and sometimes flat feet. It adds a little pressure on the foot and rotates the knees towards each other, which often result in conditions such as heel spurs, pain in the toes, and pain in the sole.
- Extended periods of sitting or standing with a flat back can cause muscle imbalances. A flat back allows you to lean your neck and head forward, which might result in neck and upper back strain.
- Leaning on one leg while standing for a long time can place excessive pressure on one side of your lower back and hip, which may develop muscle imbalances around the pelvis area, eventually causing muscle strain in the lower back. To improve this posture, try to stand with your weight evenly distributed on both your legs.
- A common posture is poking your chin which is mostly caused by sitting too low, a high screen set, a hunched back, or a combination of all three. It is bad for your muscle movements so improve your sitting habits to correct this posture.
- Holding your phone between your ear and shoulder can cause strain on the muscles of your neck, upper back, and shoulders, which might result in muscle imbalances between the left and right side of your neck.
- Prolonged shearing of the vertebrae from forward head posture can affect the small facet joints in the neck as well as the ligaments and soft tissues. This might result in neck pain that radiates down to the shoulder and upper back, eventually causing a variety of conditions.
- Rounded and elevated shoulders tend to place strain on the spine between the top of the neck and skull and base of the neck and upper shoulders. The same can be true if you try to correct your posture by pulling the shoulders backward. This can cause you to tense your muscles, thereby creating pain and stiffness in your back.
- Studies and research suggest leaning and hunching forward too much can have a great impact on your lung capacity by as much as 30 percent. When your lungs do not perform at their full capacity, your heart and brain do not receive as much oxygenated blood they require, which may cause shortness of breath.
A bad posture can have a much larger impact on your health – it can have negative consequences on your body, some of which can be long term. You must practice good posture and entertain posture exercises in every aspect of your day-to-day life, starting from when you sit at your desk at work to when you’re lifting heavy items. Implement as many posture exercises you can into your regular routine. If you are concerned about your posture, it’s not too late to reduce the bad posture habits. Assessing your own posture is the first step towards improving your posture. After all, you’re the architect of your own health – both physical and mental.