Many people don't like how their posture looks, but did you know poor posture is bad for your health?
By now you may have heard of the new catchphrase "sitting is the new smoking" and that is because of the combination of sedentary (inactive) time spent sitting, as well as the negative effects of poor posture and the effect on life span and quality of life.
The following are reasons for having poor posture, some are correctable, and some you just have to work around:
lack of body awareness
the constant stress of life
weak or abnormally tight postural muscles
wearing improper shoes (like high-heels)
working under poor conditions
moving, sitting or standing improperly
spinal misalignment aka vertebral subluxations
Slouching posture is the new normal, and that's primarily because we all live with technology in our pockets, work at computers or desks, and drive long periods in our cars, all of which put our spine and alignment of our body into compromising positions, which can become permanent with time and repetition, think sitting at a computer for 40 hours a week for 40 years, that's 80,000 hours and that doesn't include commute time or time spent sitting in the evenings and weekends! According to decades of accumulated research and this US News article summarizing the research, the following are the negative effects of bad posture:
Excaberation of arthritis
Accelerated degeneration due to poor biomechanics (alignment)
decreased breathing efficiency
circulation problems, including high blood pressure and varicose veins and
Forward head posture aka Text or Tech Neck (can cause dizziness, neck pain, shoulder stiffness, and radiculopathy)
Jaw pain (TMD Temporal Mandibular Disorder)
Mood changes and low self-confidence
Sexual dysfunction and incontinence
Shoulder and Back Pain
The benefits of good posture are:
eliminates muscle fatigue
minimizes the possibility of injuries on our ligaments
prevents back and muscular pain
aids in easier and deeper breathing
improves circulation and digestion
Improved mood and sense of power
I have made dozens of videos of exercises and stretches that address poor posture and forward head posture which you can find on my youtube channel here, for free.
But here are the top 6 best ways to improve your posture right now!
Sit better and less often!
Stand better and keep your core engaged while stationary
Don't have "text neck", keep phone or device at eye level
Avoid heavy single-strap bags and purses and avoid backpacks with over 10% of your body weight
sleep on your back or side, but not your stomach!
Avoid a reclined car seat while driving
Improving your posture takes a conscious effort. A daily spinal hygiene practice is what I recommend for anyone with a spine (that's everyone, including you!), but more specific exercises and stretches can be prescribed with a thorough assessment and examination. Chiropractic adjustments can help improve posture and reduce pain, which often is what is holding people back from improving their posture on their own.