“Sit up straight!” “Stand tall!” “Put your shoulders back!” Do you recall hearing all these commands growing up? Or maybe you still need reminders like this when it comes to your posture as an adult? It turns out that standing up straight with your shoulders held back has a more significant impact than just looking put together, posed, and charming in the family Christmas card photo.
Did you know the month of May is recognized as National Posture Month? The benefits of publicly recognizing such an essential aspect of health that can greatly impact our bodies physically are vital. This annual program aims to help people realize how posture can actually impact their overall health, not just their appearance.
To improve posture, you must strengthen body balance and movement. Having good posture is not just about how you stand but how you align and balance your body when sitting.
Posture facts that just might get your attention …
- 65 million Americans endure back pain
- Low back pain is the most common disability for people under the age of 45
- Posture related back problems are the number three reason for doctor visits
What’s the big deal, doc?
Sedentary activities like sitting, reading, playing video games, using a computer, etc., often build lousy posture habits. And we are all guilty of this … especially after enduring extended time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even physical activities like gardening, bending, or lifting objects are often performed with poor posture.
Back problems and pain are the most common problems people with poor posture face. What’s another issue? The side effects from medications or prescriptions that can control back pain can have a hugely negative impact on a person’s physical and mental well-being. Having to medicate for pain can often just trade one health problem for another. Slouching can cause severe jaw pain and headaches. Poor posture places excessive strain on the muscles, can lead to arthritis, affect your breathing, and impair the circulatory and digestive systems. Even technology-driven work habits cause neck, shoulder, and back pain. Research has proven that the physical restriction of lungs and abdominal organs caused by loss of height due to bad posture causes a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and respiratory mortality. In “short,” bad posture can shorten your life! I know I’m starting to sit up a bit straighter just reading this …
Improving posture to take on new heights!
Improving posture when standing is surprisingly easy. Focus on keeping your head held up, shoulders back, and stomach tucked in. When sitting, try to keep your legs bent 90 to 120 degrees perpendicular to the floor. Your weight should be evenly distributed over both hips, and your feet should be flat on the floor. Even posture when sleeping is critical! (Who knew, right?) Sleeping on your stomach can increase your back and neck strain.
Postures of Yoga and Pilates are excellent exercises to help balance the body’s muscles. This way, less energy is spent fighting gravity!
Advantages of good posture:
- Extra height! Did you know that up to three inches of your natural body height can be lost with poor posture? By practicing good posture, you can potentially regain your full height.
- Fatigue prevention. If your body uses muscles efficiently and correctly, less energy is spent keeping the body in position.
- Prevention of strains, backaches, and muscular pains.
- Prevention of joint wear and less strain on ligaments.
- Prevention of arthritis and impairment of circulatory and digestive systems.
- Improved appearance! If you feel good, you look good. A posture in balance helps you carry yourself better!
A chiropractor can adjust to help correct posture
A chiropractor can make adjustments to your shoulders to get you into the best position for your best posture. A chiropractor’s movements help increase movement throughout the joint, reduce muscle tension, and promote good posture without pain.
If your body has a posture imbalance, like one shoulder being higher than the other, it can negatively affect its nervous system and spine. A chiropractor helps correct poor posture, such as slouching, and can help realign your spine.
Chiropractic addresses issues like curvature of the neck, kyphosis (hunchback), pelvis/hip misalignment, head posture, scoliosis, and so much more.
Keep your body looking great and moving well with new-found confidence from your good posture! People with favorable posture can expect painless movements, balance and coordination, high energy levels, reduced stress/anxiety, good athletic performance, better breathing, and so much more. Don’t you want to feel this good?
During May (and every month), let’s focus on bettering ourselves, both inside and out, and prolonging the flexibility and positioning of our bodies. To learn more about Posture Month, check out posturemonth.org.