“Sit up straight” is probably something you heard a lot as a kid – and with good reason. When you stand or sit, with good posture, it keeps your body healthy and looking its best. Good posture isn’t just a nagging command from etiquette tyrants. There are real benefits to holding your body in proper alignment. Read on to learn what they are.
Research shows that poor posture negatively affects your ability to breathe deeply and fill your lungs. Slouching shortens the muscles at the front of your body and reduces your ability to breathe fully. Sitting straight up may actually improve your ability to bring in good old oxygen by as much as 30%.
When you sit straight, you look confident, self-assured, and poised. Slouching and slumping communicate a sad demeanour and a lack of self-esteem.
Your body is designed to stand/sit in a “neutral” position in which your pelvis, head, and torso are in a stacked position. Forward head, tilted hips, and overly curved spines put stress on muscles in ways they aren’t designed to endure. And, over the long term, this stress causes pain – usually in your back.
Your posture affects your mood. Think of how a person looks when depressed – slouched and slumped with shoulders that hunch and a head that hangs. When you feel relaxed and happy, you naturally find an upright, open posture. If you’re feeling down, stand up, pull your shoulders back, and lift your face. This simple action can help you feel more optimistic.
When you have good posture, your internal organs align well. That means less compression on your stomach, intestines, and liver, facilitating the free flow of food and digestive juices. A slouched posture inhibits the normal activity of your gastrointestinal system, which makes you vulnerable to digestive distress – including constipation and GERD.
Dropping your head and dropping your shoulders can create unnecessary tension that contributes to headaches. Research shows that people who have a posture featuring a forward head tend to have more headaches, and they last longer than people who have good posture.
Greater function as you age
Your posture affects how your body ages. If you sit with poor posture, it causes stress on connective tissues – especially at your joints – that can make you feel achy and stiff as you age. Good posture throughout a lifetime can keep you feeling mobile as you get older. As an added bonus, you also look younger.
Slouching takes work. Your muscles have to work harder when they’re in an unnatural position, which makes them fatigue faster. With good posture, you don’t waste energy as your muscles are being used efficiently.
The improved oxygen flow that comes with good posture positively affects your brain. The neurons in your brain appreciate the nutrients that come with increased circulation that’s facilitated by good posture too. When your brain’s neurons are nurtured, they fire more effectively – keeping you sharp and on task.
In addition, one more thing you need to know is that good posture cannot be maintained without regular breaks. So, let’s stay active.