Health Benefits of Posture
Health Benefits of Proper Posture
Posture is something people are taught about from a young age. Teachers and parents are always telling their children to sit up straight and stop slouching, but the benefits go far beyond appearance.
Proper posture is an essential part of a healthy body. Very few people realize how critical having good posture really is. Regardless of whether a person is concerned about looking tall, confident, and professional, having bad posture has other effects on their lives as well.
For instance, one study found that, for every inch forward a person holds their head out of alignment, it is equivalent to an extra 10 pounds of weight on their spine. This is multiplied when you look at the rest of their body to see their shoulders slouching and their back curved. Over time, this poor posture can lead to back pain, and even worse, long-term deformation of the spine as it is affected by the extra weight year after year.
Poor posture may not seem that important to anyone under 30, but as they begin reaching 40, 50, 60, and beyond, they’ll begin to see the long-term detrimental effects of back pain, reduced mobility, and—if let ignored—even extreme slouching problems, often referred to as being “hunchbacked”. This can lead to difficulty walking and getting around.
So, what are the exact benefits of having proper posture?
- The top and instantly noticeable benefit of having proper posture is that a person will appear taller (simply because they appear shorter when slouching). By elongating their spine, holding their head up straight, and picking their shoulders up and slightly back, a person will always appear taller, more confident, and in control.
- Another instantly noticeable effect of proper posture is that a person will appear thinner. In actuality, this is similar to the above point in that they will appear more plump due to slouching. Proper posture engages the ab muscles and helps tuck in the belly.
- Thirdly, proper posture will greatly improve balance. Sitting up straight and standing up straight will help in the long-term wellness of a person, but it will also assist them in maintaining their balance as they ride bikes, horses, or do similar activities and it will help them stay on their feet firmer.
- The next benefit is one of the most important, but it’s typically ignored simply because it can be “put off” or forgotten about deliberately since it is a long-term effect. The long-term benefit of proper posture is avoiding back pain and, alongside this, maintaining a strong stature throughout life.
What Is Proper Posture?
Now, what exactly does having proper posture mean? First and foremost, it’s important that people trying to practice proper posture don’t get so worried about “standing up straight” and “not slouching” that they will over-do it and end up having bad posture in the other direction. Some of the most common mistakes made when trying to learn proper posture include: holding the shoulders too far back or too tight together, tilting the chin too far up, curving the back in the other direction.
There are just three aspects that need to be paid mind to in order to have proper posture:
- Stand straight. Some people’s back may have a slight natural curve to it, which doesn’t need to be corrected. However, as they stand straight, they should bring their belly button in a little bit (engaging your abs) and check themselves in the mirror to ensure there is not a significant curve in either direction.
- Shoulders up and back. Shoulders should be up level and slightly back. Do not pinch them back too far. If the person looks tense, they are over-doing this movement. Rolling the shoulders back and forth will help them find the right spot.
- Head up. Someone practicing proper posture should be sure that they don’t hold their chin extended forward. This puts extra pressure on the spine. The neck should be in alignment with the back, and the head should be level. Looking up or down as a default stance will put strain on the neck and back.
It may seem like a lot for some to remember, but many studies have proven that it takes only 21 tries (or days, in this case) to learn any new habit. Anyone willing to devote just the next three weeks to checking their posture regularly will benefit from proper posture for the rest of their lives.
Remembering to stand up straight can be difficult, especially if slouching has been a life-long habit. There are plenty of approaches one can take to help remind them to stand up straight where ever they happen to be. One of the most common ways to do this is to set a reminder on a device that will be near them. It may get annoying, but at least once an hour, it should ding with a notification sound that is different from their other notifications. When they hear this sound, they know to casually check their posture and ensure they are sitting or standing up straight.
Other methods to improve posture include doing back strengthening exercises and stretches. Strengthening the core muscles (which stretch all the way around front and back, and go beyond the abs) will also help gradually strengthen the muscles responsible for good posture, leading to better posture naturally.
People who are facing struggles with their weight can also benefit from practicing good posture. Standing up straight will make them appear taller and thinner, and it will also lead to their back getting stronger with time and help them engage their core naturally.
While initially getting into the habit of having good posture can be a challenge, with practice and time, it will become natural. Good posture has many benefits that cannot be understated, and with the instant perks of looking taller, thinner, and more confident, there is really no reason why anyone would be against striving for better posture each and every day.
Contact Gold Coast Chiropractic today for help with all of your posture needs!