If you grew up in an environment similar to mine, you did so with both parents and grandparents constantly harping on you to “sit up straight,” or “stand up straight.” It was a pain in my ass all through my formative years. But it turns out that even if their reasons for drilling it into me may not have been health-related, there are a number of reasons why proper posture is SUPER important to one’s health and overall well-being.
Having a correct posture can help improve blood flow and by the same token, keep certain blood vessels and nerve groupings healthy. Having BAD posture will eventually tax certain muscle groups and tendons and can lead to unwanted neck, back and limb pain. It’s something we rarely thin about as we go about our day. But if you work in a seated position or even during walking, standing or sitting on the couch binge-watching Game of Thrones, correct posture will help to prevent a number of issues that you may not even be aware that you’re causing.
Incorrect posture usually comes in the form of slouching. When we slouch, a number of things will usually happen over the long term, if one does nothing to correct it. Your shoulders will slump and will become rounded, you’ll tax and stress the muscle groupings that hold it all up, leading to shoulder, neck and back pain. It can also lead to body fatigue and headaches, and a tendency to lean in a given direction, depending on how you slouch and why.
For the most part, aches, pains and headaches can be relieved by a quick visit to your chiropractor for an adjustment. This usually results in a whole bunch of cracking joints, and many people feel less than comfortable with someone twisting their neck and spine. Although the chances of injury from chiropractic treatment is almost non-existent, it’s still an eery feeling. And this is only a temporary measure if one leaves the chiropractor’s office and goes right back to slouching.
Further effects that most usually don’t consider, is that a slouched or incorrect posture will also lead to a prominent pot belly, since your abdominal tissues are all being squeezed together like some sort of unwanted cheeseburger. I’m kidding. Cheeseburgers are always wanted. But seriously, bad posture will also cause respiratory issues, as slouching will put pressure on the lungs and prevent a full intake of breath. It may also lead to difficulty sleeping and a condition referred to as TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint pain. Nice, eh? All of that, because you didn’t want to listen to your parents when they told you to stand up straight!
Unfortunately, slouching is an existing habit that we all suffer from. The basic reality is that the modern workforce requires the use of a computer for the majority of the things we do. Sitting at a workstation for hours on end greatly contributes to slouching, and very few people follow the recommended habit of getting up, stretching and walking around at least once an hour. Another problem is that the entire world walks around with their nose buried in their smart phones. This causes a lot of unnecessary craning downward of the head, which is some of the worst type of posture one can have. So… The question is, how do we correct this?
According to an article posted by HealthLine.com, some easy ways to correct one’s posture include focusing on standing tall, sitting correctly, moving around once in a while and doing an exercises called the “wall slide,” which is described in the article, child’s pose, shoulder blade squeeze, the plank and the bridge. The article itself has greater detail of course, and it stands to reason that there are further exercises that can help, as well.
Frequent and regular physical fitness will be the greatest help. Performing exercises that help strengthen the stabilizing muscles are important. Further, you need to ensure that you move frequently and avoid staying in one held position for long hours (unless you’re sleeping). More often than not, putting an alarm on your smartphone to remind you to correct your posture or move around every hour can be helpful.
Most sources will mention that one simply needs to make a conscious effort to stand up straighter. If that were the case, our parents wouldn’t have had to bark it at us so much when we were young. But a correct posture will ultimately help correct many of the aches and pains that we all assume are simply a part of adult life. Exercise well, take preventative steps and don’t be afraid to solicit the services of professional massage therapists and chiropractors. ☯