Being told to "stand up straight" truly felt like a rite of passage in our childhood years, but those nagging adults were actually onto something. Turns out good posture supports good health and all the hours we spend hunched over our desks aren’t doing us any favours. Here are all the ways proper posture can do you good.
Poor posture can contribute to tension headaches due to increased muscle tension in the back of the neck. Often if we correct our posture, we can reduce muscle tension and improve our headaches.
Increased energy levels
According to studies, when our bones and joints are aligned correctly, our muscles are able to function more effectively without exerting as much energy.
Research shows that the slumped-forward posture creates unnecessary stress and strains your spine. This can make you feel heavy and achy, which leads to being tired and irritable. A study in the Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that individuals felt more alert and less anxious after simply keeping their back and shoulders upright while sitting.
Improved digestion and circulation
Proper alignment is essential for healthy blood flow, and positions which cramp circulation should be avoided. When our posture is not aligned correctly, it can cause vital organs to be compressed, causing them to work less efficiently.
Increased lung capacity
Good posture improves your breathing. This is because lungs are often compressed irregularly when we’re slouching. When we’re sitting or standing taller, our lungs have more space to expand.
Reduced body pain
Sitting or standing in a slouched position for prolonged periods of time stresses your entire body and puts pressure on the spine. By realigning the body, tension is alleviated from pressure points, which reduces body pain.
But what does proper posture actually look like, you ask? Here are some things you can do to find out:
- Stand with your head, shoulder blades, and behind up against a wall with your heels 2 – 4 inches from the wall
- Slide your hand behind the small of your back. For a correct lower back curve, you should just barely be able to slide your hand between your lower back and the wall
- If there’s too much space, draw your back closer to the wall
- If there’s too little space, arch your back away from the wall
- Try to hold this posture when you step away from the wall
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