Every day I see people with bad posture, it’s an epidemic! The same people that walk into my office complaining of headaches, neck and upper back pain are usually the patients with bad posture.
I haven’t talked to anyone with bad posture that didn’t already know they had it. They’ve tried to do things to help their posture, but their strategy was off. If you think you can “remember to sit up straight” and have good posture, you’re going to have a tough time.
Good posture is about stretching the front of your body (like the neck and chest) and, even more importantly, strengthening the back of your body (especially the neck and upper back). There’s no support, brace, or remembering device out there that can accomplish the long term benefits and rapid results you’ll get from working on strengthening your neck and back.
Does good posture really matter? Is it just a “nice” thing to do, or should you move it up your priority list for healthy things you’d like to improve? Here are a few things that bad posture does to your body:
1. Bad Posture Causes Pain
Like I mentioned above, headaches, neck and upper back pain are all likely aggravated, if not caused by, poor posture. Pain in the upper low back is commonly due to slouching in your chair while working long hours.
2. Bad Posture Makes You Look Less Attractive
Take a look at yourself in pictures with good posture and without, which one do you like better? Good posture will give you the appearance of confidence and even make you look younger. No one looks their best hunched or slouched over.
3. Bad Posture Affects Your Digestive System
Some authors suggest that sitting in a hunched position causes your intestines to “fold up” and it slows things down. Makes sense to me. I want everything “unfolded” and working like it should.
4. Bad Posture Makes You Less Happy
I’ve heard it’s impossible to stay depressed if you spend 30 minutes smiling at yourself in the mirror every day. I don’t know if it’s the silliness associated with it, or just seeing yourself smile that truly makes you happy inside. Either way, it makes sense that if you picture in your head someone who is sad and depressed, you will give them a slouching, less confident posture. Sitting and standing up straight is how you picture someone happy, and your brain knows it!
5. Bad Posture Increases Stress
Most people calm themselves by taking a slow, deep breath. Hunching forward makes your breathing more shallow, which forces your heart rate to speed up to increase the amount of oxygen transport. However, there’s even more scientific evidence to show how your posture can affect your health. A recent study from Harvard University revealed that people who adopted a “powerful posture” (open shoulders and straight spines) had a 20% rise in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone).
Ask your chiropractor about how you should specifically be working on your posture. Chiropractic adjustments help. Posture exercises help. We will also recommend specific stretches and even a foam roller to help speed up your results.
Forget about trying to remember to have good posture and take the physical steps you need to make your posture better. It’s worth it, I promise.