Having the right posture
80% of the population, you will have experienced some back pain which can be brought on by poor posture.
April 13, 2023
Stop for a second and tell me how your posture is looking as you are reading this blog post? Chances are, if you are like 80% of the population, you will have experienced some back pain which can be brought on by poor posture.
As technology continues to advance and we find we have the luxury to be more sedentary, we find we are typically sat in certain positions for longer periods of time than ever before. Think about your everyday life: travel to and from work (whether public transport or driving) is sitting down for most of us, work usually consists of sitting (or standing) for long periods of time in one position, relaxing at home in the evening consists of eating dinner (sitting down) watching TV (sitting down) playing video games (sitting down). The list goes on.
This means that our posture is taking a battering and is leading to a whole host of other health implications:
- Back and Neck pain: Poor posture can cause strain on your back and neck muscles, leading to sporadic or constant pain and discomfort.
- Reduced lung capacity: Hunching over or slouching can restrict the expansion of your lungs, reducing your lung capacity and making it harder to breathe deeply. Diaphragmatic breath is important to help our nervous systems stay in a calm and mindful state, rather than fight or flight. It’s also key to getting the most amount of oxygen circulating through the body.
- Digestive problems: Slouching can compress your internal organs, leading to digestive issues like constipation and acid reflux.
- Fatigue: When you have poor posture, your body has to work harder to maintain balance and alignment. This can lead to fatigue and make you feel more tired than you would otherwise. Team that will lacking oxygen from reduced lung capacity, and you can feel very low on energy for most of the day.
- Headaches: Poor posture can cause tension in your neck and shoulders, which can lead to headaches. It’s also common to experience headaches from working at a computer screen for too long, so posture becomes a key contributor here.
- Poor circulation: Slouching can restrict blood flow to your extremities, leading to numbness and tingling in your arms and legs.
- Mood: Your posture can also impact your mood. Studies have shown that people who sit up straight are more likely to feel confident and positive, while those who slouch tend to feel more depressed and anxious.
The impact of poor posture is wider than we might first imagine, so it’s important to pay attention and make sure you're taking some steps to improve your posture and avoid the negative effects on your health. Through a combination of different strategies including strengthening exercises and stretching, it’s possible to make changes pretty quickly:
- Strengthen your core muscles: Your core muscles play an important role in maintaining good posture. Exercises that target your core muscles, such as planks and sit-ups, can help improve your posture.
- Stretch regularly: Tight muscles can pull your body out of alignment, leading to bad posture. Stretching can help loosen tight muscles and improve flexibility. Focus on stretching your chest, neck, shoulders, and hips.
- Use proper ergonomics: Make sure your workspace is set up correctly to promote good posture. Adjust your chair, keyboard, and monitor so that your neck, shoulders, and back are in a neutral position.
- Take frequent breaks: Sitting or standing in the same position for extended periods can strain your muscles and lead to bad posture. Take breaks every 30 minutes or so to stretch, move around, and give your muscles a break.
- Be mindful: Pay attention to your posture throughout the day. Try to keep your shoulders back, your chest out, and your back straight. Imagine a string pulling you up from the top of your head.
- Seek professional help: If you have severe posture problems or chronic pain, consider seeking help from a physical therapist or chiropractor. They can provide personalized recommendations and exercises to help improve your posture.