Most of us would agree that during childhood, the reminders to ‘sit up straight’ and ‘don’t slouch’ were countless. The truth is that we also need these reminders regularly in adulthood. Activities like sitting at a desk all day, Netflix and chill time, high-heel shoes and looking down at a smartphone are likely harming your posture.
This blog highlights 8 reasons why poor posture is harmful for your health.
What is Posture?
“Posture” describes the positioning of your body, when you’re sitting, standing, walking and lying down. It refers to how your head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles are lining up, and how they relate to each other.
What is Good Posture?
When your body is in a healthy postural position, it’s aligned. This means that the natural forces of gravity are effectively distributed throughout your muscles, ligaments and tendons (with minimal energy usage). Thus, no one structure is over stressed, reducing the risk of muscle strains and joint pains.
Good posture enables you to move easily, maximising your flexibility as well as the strength of your muscles. It helps you to maintain concentration and work productively. You’ll feel less fatigued, because you’re losing less energy due to compensating for strains present in your body’s ligaments, joints and muscles. This enables your vital organs and nervous system to function effectively.
Look at a young child (around the age of 2 years old) for a fabulous example of what ‘good posture’ and movement look like. You will notice the three main curves of their spine forms an ‘S’ shape. The cervical curve develops when they start to lift their head. The lumbar curve, when they begin to walk. And the third curve, the thoracic curve, goes in the opposing direction, joining the set of three to form the ‘S’ shape. This shape in the spine is vitally important, as it is the basis of its suspension, and creates the magical and crucial combination of flexibility and strength.
What is poor posture?
When you have “poor posture” you’re essentially out of alignment. Some of your muscles have to work harder to keep you upright, which causes imbalances and can lead to stresses, strains and tiredness.
So let’s delve into the 8 Health Issues caused by Poor Posture:
Are commonly caused by straining our head, neck, jaw and upper back muscles.
2) Jaw pain can be caused by a forward head posture
Forward head posture, causes strain in at least the neck and suboccipital muscles. This can overwork or overload your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), resulting in pain and potentially leading to further pain and difficulties with the jaw and surrounding areas.
3) Back pain is a common consequence
It can become chronic, impeding your ease and range of movement, ultimately reducing your quality of life.
Poor posture over time will cause the natural curvature of your spine to change shape. This can impact all facets of your body, as your spine’s natural function as a shock absorber will deteriorate.
5) Shoulder pain
Also commonly occurs, particularly from a forward, hunched posture. This stresses the rotator cuff muscles and tendons, in particular, which can get pinched, or potentially torn. This can lead to significant pain and weakness in the shoulder.
6) Hip, knee and foot pain
Can be caused by poor alignment of either hip, knee or foot, or all of them. This misalignment can lead to muscle weakness, tightness and lack of flexibility. Ultimately resulting in strains and pain. Examples include “sciatica” or sciatic pain, and plantar fasciitis.
7) Tiredness, breathing and digestive problems
Can all be caused by poor posture. As can a pot belly appearance. Issues such as slouching or any level of kyphosis that restricts your rib cage, compresses your diaphragm and other internal organs. Making it harder for your lungs to inhale a full breath and exhale it completely. Which can lead to shallow breathing and respiratory issues, increased stress levels, lack of energy, fatigue or tiredness. Ultimately affecting your productivity. It can even make it hard for your intestines to digest food effectively, which can further lead to digestive disorders.
8) Bad Mood
A study from the journal Health Psychology found that people who sat with a slumped posture exhibited more negative moods, more fear, and lower self-esteem than those who sat upright. (refer to your teacher was right blog).
No one wants to be in pain, or have their posture likened to the third guy in the evolution of man. So take care of your posture, seek support to learn the correct exercises and postural alignments for your body, and you’ll find a multitude of health benefits will follow.
Where to seek help to improve your posture?
BlossomingMe offers a fully integrated approach to your wellbeing. Located on Sydney’s Upper North Shore, our qualified Osteopath, remedial masseuse and health and lifestyle coaches will be able to support you to improve your posture and therefore your overall health.