The Importance of Good Posture
Raise your hand if you have perfect posture! I’m sure none of us are raising our hands right now. Most people don’t think about it, but slouching is pretty typical especially if you have the kind of job where you sit at a computer all day.
Chronic bad posture can lead to:
• Headaches/Jaw Pain- leaning forward when you are seated makes it more likely that you will clench your jaw, which can lead to both headaches and jaw pain.
• Shoulder/Back Pain- Slouching causes the shoulders to come forward, which puts strain on both your shoulders and back. The same can happen if you try to overcorrect your posture by pulling your shoulders back.
• Reduced Lung Function- According to Dr. Rene Cailliet of The University of Southern California’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, when you lean or slouch forward it can affect your lung capacity by as much as 30%. And when your lungs are not performing to their full capacity, your tissues do not receive as much oxygenated blood, which can lead to shortness of breath, cognitive problems, and heart disease.
• Gastrointestinal Complications- In order for your food to get pushed through your intestines, your stomach and intestines rely on movements called peristaltic movements. Poor posture can negatively affect these movements, leading the system to not function as it normally should.
There are many natural ways to help improve your posture:
1. Practice- Yes, it sounds silly, but it does help to watch yourself in the mirror!
2. Sit up straight- When sitting, be mindful about your posture. Make sure your back is against the back of the chair and your feet are flat.
3. Give yoga a try- Yoga is a great tool that helps you to become more flexible and in turn, will help your posture.
4. Stretch- When you are in a certain position for an extended period of time, your muscles get fatigued, which means you are more likely to slouch. Make sure to stretch periodically.
5. Strengthen your core- Your core muscles surprisingly have a lot to do with helping you stand and sit straight. This is another place where yoga comes in.
6. Watch your sleep posture- You are more likely to slouch if you wake up with back and neck pain. If you are a side sleeper, make sure you use a pillow that will keep your head aligned with your spine. You can also place a pillow between your knees to ease the strain on your back. Back sleepers can put a pillow under their knees, which will then open up the joint spaces in the spine. If possible, avoid sleeping on your stomach because it causes neck strain.
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