Strong Spine, Strong Body
I am the first one to admit that my posture isn’t great. When I’m not hunched over my laptop, I’m looking down at my cell phone or am in other awkward positions. Although most people believe that bad posture just causes physical discomfort, it can actually have some negative impacts on overall health. In other words: this article is a wake-up call for you and me both!
Your posture is divided into types; dynamic and static. Dynamic posture is the way you hold yourself when you are performing any type of movement such as walking, running, or bending over. On the other hand, static posture is how you hold yourself when you aren’t moving, like when you’re sitting, standing, or sleeping. It is very important to have good dynamic and static posture.
How Does Bad Posture Affect Your Health?
There are several negative effects of poor posture, and Integrated Rehabilitation Services has outlined a few of them.
- Spine Curvature. Poor posture can cause the natural curve of the spine to change shape, which can put an extreme amount of strain on parts of our bodies (like nerves) that aren’t meant to take it. Our spines were designed to absorb shock, but bad posture can lessen this ability, putting the entire body at risk of serious injury.
- Back Pain. Stiffness, tenderness, and discomfort in your upper and lower back is the most common side effect of poor posture. For instance, spending any amount of time slouched forward puts an enormous amount of strain on the shoulder muscles as your spine can no longer support the weight of your head.
- Neck Pain & Headaches. Your posterior muscles suffer from the added pressure caused by bad posture. As your muscles tighten to accommodate the added strain of improper spinal alignment, nerves can be pinched or compressed, leading to tension headaches and even migraines!
- Poor Sleep. Terrible posture can cause your entire muscular system to hold onto twisted, painful, and compromising positions even when the strain is alleviated, like when one lays down to go to bed. This kind of contortion makes it difficult to find comfortable positions to sleep in, and can make deep sleep hard to reach and harder to keep.
- Disrupted Digestion. Sitting with bad posture can lead to digestive issues. Keeping an incorrect form compresses your organs, slowing the digestive process and causing stomach and intestinal issues such as bloating and IBS.
Ways to Improve Your Posture
Now that you know some of the ways in which bad posture may affect your health, here are some simple and easy practices to implement into your daily routine that should get you to the position best for you.
- Curve reversal – if you tend to lean over your desk, stretch back the other way at intervals throughout the day
- Adopt a regular stretching routine to keep muscles warm and loose and prevent nerve compression
- Exercise regularly to improve muscle strength (focusing on the core is especially helpful)
- Avoid asymmetrical weight distribution such as standing on one foot or wearing a one-shoulder bag for long periods of time
- Support your neck and spine when sleeping by lying flat on your back and/or by using a bracing pillow
- Sit Seiza – a Japanese style of sitting that supports correct posture
- Invest in posture-correcting chairs or devices built to help you achieve a neutral posture
There’s a reason why we are always told to “sit up straight” and it’s not about how you look but your overall health. Work on your posture and stay healthy!
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