You have been told at some time in your life to sit up straight and stop slouching because it looks bad. It is difficult, isn’t it? Did you know that your posture can tell you a lot about your health? Your structural foundation is so important for every move you make and also determines how well you adapt to various stresses put on it. Stresses can come from standing, sitting, exercising, carrying things, working, or other various activities. Our posture is affected by all sorts of small traumas to our spine that build up over time. Our spine has 3 curves that allow us to stand up straight, allow our nervous system to function properly, and allow us to withstand forces put on it. Continuous forces put on our body due to small traumas can change the structure of these curves; this leads to poor posture. Imagine if you fell multiple times on your butt or hit your head when you were trying to walk at 1 year-old, fell off your bike at age 5, fell out of a tree, crashed on a go cart, fell on a skateboard, wiped out learning to water ski, collided with a teammate in sports, hit head on a cupboard, first car accident, multiple car accidents, and on and on. These may seem like trivial traumas but these incidents add up and cause misalignments to our spine. The muscles and ligaments surrounding the spine have to adapt to these new positions of the vertebra. Muscles have so much memory and this is why when a person tries to sit up straight, it is difficult and can often be painful. The muscles have adapted to their new positions. With increasing amounts of time spent on technology, poor posture is on the rise, especially in kids.
Poor posture is bad for your health in many ways:
- Makes you look 10 pounds heavier. Hunched and rounded shoulders makes a person look heavier than they actually are.
- Inflicts extra wear and tear on joints. When the spine is misaligned and the curves have changed, the muscles and ligaments have to work harder to stabilize the spine. This can cause degenerative changes in the spine as more wear and tear is put on it.
- Reduces lung capacity. Hunched shoulders can reduce lung capacity by almost 30%.
- Can cause digestive problems. Sitting poorly and hunched over can put stress on the organs and intestines used for digestion and can lead to digestive disorders.
- Can cause chronic pain. Poor posture and extra stress on the spine can result in chronic neck and back pain, headaches, hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, and hand pain.
- Increases risk for heart disease. Sitting all day with poor posture has been shown to increase risk for heart disease by 147%.
- Poor posture can influence your emotional state. People with poor posture have less energy and are generally more fatigued.
- Poor posture makes you look unhealthy.