Bad posture affects more than how you look. Slouching hurts your body by creating a curvature in your spine, which cuts off your nerve supply. This can lead to a number of health issues, as it limits your brain’s ability to community to the rest of your body.
Is slouching making you unhealthy? Lucky for you, quitting this bad habit is possible at any age. Here’s how poor posture affects your overall health and what you can do to reverse the slouch.
Side effects of poor posture
How you carry yourself can have a huge impact on your health. Bad posture can lead to upper body aches and pains, as well as a poorly functioning nervous system. Patients commonly come in for a checkup when they’re experiencing health problems like:
- Migraines and tension headaches
- Shoulder, neck and back pain
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Reduced lung function
- Stress and anxiety
- Fatigue or low energy
- Constipation and gastrointestinal pain
- Sleep problems or insomnia
- Endocrine dysfunction
- Heightened seasonal allergies
How to improve your posture
Be mindful of your posture. Just being aware of how you’re sitting or standing can help you correct slouching when it happens. If you work a desk job or like to enjoy the occasional Netflix binge, set a reminder on your smartphone or online calendar to help you remember to sit up straight. If you’re out exercising, like running or climbing stairs, periodically check your stance to make sure you’re standing tall.
Get up more often. Sitting in one position for extended periods can wreak havoc on your back, and even more so when you’re hunched over a computer. Make sure to take regular breaks by standing up and walking around, which will give your circulation (and your mood) a quick boost. Wearing a fitness tracker is a great way to get periodic reminders to stand up and move.
Tighten your core. Your core muscles play a large role in supporting your body, especially your back. These include your abdominals, lower back and obliques, which work together to take the pressure off your back and help you maintain good posture with ease. Pilates offers plenty of core strengthening exercises for improving your stance and your overall health.
Boost your flexibility. Slouching can throw your whole body out of alignment. Adding a few stretches to your daily routine can help relax the muscles that support your spinal column. Make sure to include moves that open up your chest, neck, shoulders and upper/middle back. Practicing Yoga will help lengthen your muscles while bringing more calm into your busy day.
Go see your chiropractor. If you’re experiencing the side effects of bad posture, a trip to the chiropractor can reveal any disturbances to your spine. A Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) certified doctor is trained to correct any postural problems you may have. Fixing poor posture takes work, but with some adjustments and retraining, you can reap the endless benefits for your health and happiness.