But that was years ago, and you’ve let it slide a bit.
You don’t really think about correcting bad posture these days. That’s okay, right?
Interestingly enough, it might not be. It turns out that correcting bad posture may have positive effects. And not just on your height, but on your overall health.
1. Supports good circulation. Poor posture puts pressure on veins and capillaries. If you slouch for the length of a movie, it’s not going to have much of an impact. But if you consistently have poor posture, over time the pressure on those veins and capillaries is going interrupt blood flow, which can lead to varicose and spider veins – or worse. Correcting bad posture is an easy way to keep the blood flowing.
2. Alleviates lower back pain. How much of your day is spent sitting? And how much attention do you give to your posture while you sit? Those are the two most important questions when it comes to lower back pain. Too much sitting with your shoulders slumped and your back curved can cause stress on the lower back, and eventually it will even contribute to disc degeneration. By correcting bad posture while you sit, you can interrupt this cycle before it gets too bad. Sit with your feet flat, your shoulders back, and your neck straight. And remember to walk around for ten minutes out of every hour whenever possible.
3. Prevents joint stiffness and pain, up to and including arthritis! Many people believe that joint pain and stiffness are an inevitable part of aging – but it doesn’t have to be that way. And you certainly don’t have to end up with arthritis. Just like poor posture puts pressure on your veins and capillaries, it also puts pressure on your joints. Sometimes to the point of tweaking them out of position, stressing the ligaments. And it’s not just your back muscles that are affected by poor posture, either. The muscles that help support your joints are under pressure from poor posture as well. But correcting bad posture helps relieve the pressure and allows your joints to return to proper alignment, easing the stiffness and pain while reducing your risk of developing arthritis.
4. Relieves constipation. Pay attention to your midsection next time you realize you’re hunched over. You’ll realize that your stomach, intestines, colon, entire digestive tract is compacted. When this happens, nothing moves easily and you get blocked up. If it happens long enough, the compaction can eventually lead to problems with digesting food and processing the nutrients your body needs to function.
5. Eases depression. Which comes first? Do you slouch because you’re depressed – or are you depressed because you slouch? People who slouch report feeling more depressed, and have less energy than people with good posture. And it makes sense, too. Correcting bad posture allows the oxygen to flow through your system better because your lungs aren’t compressed. Oxygen is one of the key components to energy, mental health, and a sense of well-being. Plus, most people feel better and emotionally stronger with their shoulders back and their head held high.
6. Reduces stress. In studies, people who stand, walk, or sit with open shoulders and straight spines have registered higher levels of testosterone – a feel good hormone - and lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. Since people with poor posture experience the exact opposite measures, correcting bad posture can be directly linked to less stress. There’s enough going on to stress you out. Don’t make it worse just by ignoring poor posture.
Correcting bad posture is more than just following an outdated societal norm. It’s an important step towards wellness and overall health!