You may have heard that good posture is essential to good health, but did you know why? Posture refers to how you position your body when sitting, standing, or lying down. Your posture is the result of habits acquired over the years.
Many people recognize bad posture in others without realizing that theirs leaves something to be desired. If you look at your co-workers in the office, you’ll likely find them hunched over their desks. Find out why good posture is important – and what you can do to improve yours.
What is good posture?
Correct posture is the proper alignment of your body when standing or sitting. Indeed, good posture involves training to hold your body against gravity by exerting the least amount of stress and tension on supporting structures, such as muscles and ligaments. Good posture keeps your bones and joints in optimal alignment and reduces wear and tear on supporting structures.
Good posture alleviates back and neck problems.
Correct alignment of your spine allows you to move easily so that your body supports your weight without constraint. Poor posture can put pressure on your tendons, muscles, and ligaments, leading to neck and back pain.
If you suffer from neck and back pain, you may be surprised to learn that improving your posture can go a long way toward relieving your symptoms.
Poor posture affects the digestive system.
A bent posture puts your body in an unnatural position that can impact certain abdominal organs. Bending over or hunching over your desk or staring at your mobile device can interfere with proper digestion and increase the risk of acid reflux and constipation.
If you notice that you have heartburn when you bend over, something as simple as straightening up can provide relief.
Good posture improves the functioning of muscles and joints.
When you have good posture, your muscles and other structures work properly, helping you avoid abnormal wear and tear. Inadequate posture puts pressure on your joints and can cause them to deteriorate. It is the most common cause of osteoarthritis, a form of “wear and tear” arthritis.
Although other factors, such as age and genetics, can increase the risk of arthritis, the way you carry your body plays a role in the stress you put on your joints. By adopting good posture, you can reduce muscle fatigue and tension and help keep your joints healthy and lubricated.
Good posture improves mood.
When you think of factors that can improve your mood, posture probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Look at it this way: Your brain and body communicate both ways, which means your mood can influence your posture and your posture can influence your mood. When you’re happy, you notice yourself standing up straight, whereas when you’re feeling depressed, you’re more likely to hunker down or sit in a hunched over position. The next time you notice your mood slipping, try changing your posture; stand up straight and breathe deeply. You may notice a slight mood boost after doing this.
Good posture promotes strong spine.
Good posture is one of the simplest and easiest ways to keep your spine healthy. Although it may take some practice and vigilance, good posture provides proper back support. This is especially important if you spend time sitting in an office chair or standing throughout the day.
Sitting and standing with proper alignment improves blood circulation, contributes to healthy nerves and blood vessels, and supports muscles, ligaments, and tendons. People who make a habit of correct posture are less likely to suffer from back and neck pain.