When we were kids, we always had someone reminding us to sit up straight, but as adults, we no longer have someone to remind us and it takes a lot of effort to sit or stand properly. Not sitting, standing and sleeping in a healthy position can affect our health and may cause severe back problems. That’s because the core of our body’s musculoskeletal system is in our spines. The 33 vertebrae that go from the head to the pelvis are the foundation of the human body, and when something affects its natural position, it can have negative effects on the rest of the body.
For example, when you’re slouching, your lower spine could cause your hips to rest unevenly and that will affect how your knees, ankles, and feet function. Or it could affect the upper spine, which affects your head, shoulder, and arms.
Unlike what many people think, having good posture doesn’t only reduce back pain, but it also improves the health of the internal organs and affects how they work. So, practice good posture to improve your back and organ function. Putting in the effort to sit and stand properly has a lot of positive effects on your health. So let’s take a deeper look at how practicing proper posture can improve your overall health.
Having Proper Posture
Before knowing how posture improves your health, you have to understand what good posture is. The right posture of the spine has three natural curves that make a stretched “S” shape. Having proper posture means that you’re placing the spine in its natural position so that your pelvis, shoulders, head, are in their optimal positions and, therefore, functioning efficiently. In other words, good posture means that the muscles around the spine are balanced and that the key parts of your body are supported by the right amount of muscle tension.
How Good Posture Improves Your Health
Reduces Back Pain
Back pain is a problem that affects almost 80% of Americans. Practicing to sit and stand properly will reduce your back pain as it will keep your bones and joints aligned. However, in some severe cases, maintaining good posture will not help relieve your back pain. In that case, you should consider effective chiropractic care. Good posture will help relieve back pain in the long run or prevent it, but it’s not an optimal solution in some cases. You can also try doing exercise bridges for 5 minutes every day to reduce the stress on your lower back.
Reduces Tension Headaches
Tension headache is the pain you feel behind your eyes and neck. Slouching is one of the main reasons for tension headaches. It occurs due to increased muscle tension in your upper back. By practicing good posture, you will reduce muscle tension in your head and neck and therefore reduce tension headaches. You can also do some exercises to strengthen your neck muscles.
Improve Blood Circulation
As we mentioned before, good posture aligns your muscles and internal organs and keeps them in their natural position. This could improve your blood circulation and digestion as you will not be interfering with your body’s normal flow and functions of the digestive system. As the blood circulation improves, your concentration and focus level will improve as well because you will be allowing your brain to have enough oxygen to perform properly. So we can say that improves good posture your concentration as well.
Strengthen Muscles and Increase Energy
Sitting and standing properly will strengthen your core, glutes, and back muscles, which will automatically relieve unnecessary tension in your body. Your muscles have to do a lot of work when they’re in an unnatural position. That’s why, slouching takes work and energy, which could affect your body’s energy. Keeping an upright back position means that the muscles are in their proper position and will not consume energy, and the muscles are used efficiently.
Studies found that slouching shortens your lung muscles and affects the ability to breathe deeply. Standing and sitting straight can help improve your lungs and your breathing ability, which allows you to take deep breaths properly.
Affects Your Mood
When a person is depressed they often look slouched, but when a person is confident and happy their shoulders are drawn to the back. If you’re unhappy or stressed, stand up, stretch your arms and back and keep an upright posture for a while. This can make you feel a little better and less stressed.
How to Maintain Good Posture
To keep your body in good posture while standing, your legs should have a slight knee bend and maintain a straight back. Stretching your legs more than you should affect your joints and muscles.
While sitting, your feet should rest flat on the floor or on a footrest to distribute the weight evenly on both of your hips, and the back of your knees should not be very far from the chair. Your back and shoulders should be straight, but relaxed. Try to avoid crossing your legs or ankles while sitting as this posture could cause leg cramps and adds pressure to one leg more than the other.
When you’re sleeping, try to put a pillow underneath your head and not your shoulders, so that your head is on the same level as the rest of your body. Try placing a pillow under your knees to keep good posture even while sleeping. If you prefer sleeping on your side, slightly bend your knees. Do not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest, as this position could cause many back problems.
Maintaining proper posture in your daily life might be a bit hard at first, but after a while, you will sit and stand straight without any reminders or effort at all. Good body posture has many more benefits other than just improving your health. It also improves your social and professional image because people are more attracted to confident people. While keeping good posture will decrease your stress levels, increase your energy levels, and make you happier.