From as far back as the 18th century, upright posture has been associated with a ‘moral’ upper-class society vibe. This has caused the development of many devices to help with posture, and despite its tendency to almost squeeze people close to death, the first-ever posture corrector known as the corset was introduced. Evolving societal standards may have changed how much importance we put on proper posture, leading to the disuse of phrases related to posture such as “stand up straight” and “elbows off the table”, but this doesn’t mean that poor posture should be ignored. Here are some of the ways your poor posture can silently kill you:
Wear down bones and cause fatigue
An article in the US News highlighted how poor posture can negatively affect your energy levels. Poor posture adds tension and compression to various parts of the body that aren’t supposed to bear any weight, and as a result, they wear your bone, joints, and ligaments down. Since poor posture requires more energy to maintain and compensate for, people with poor posture tend to become fatigued more quickly.
Heartburn and slowed digestion
Harvard reported that poor posture can trigger heartburn and acid reflux right after meals. This is because poor posture places pressure on the abdomen, which then forces the stomach acid to go in the wrong direction. Some evidence also suggests that transit in the intestines is slowed down by poor posture. Constant compression of various digestive organs can, in the long run, negatively impact your metabolism as well as your ability to process certain foods.
Impaired lung function
Poor posture greatly contributes to breathing dysfunction. An article by the Healthline explains that rounded shoulders and a forward head position can cause the muscles around the chest to tighten. As a result, the mobility of the rib cage is limited, causing people with poor posture to take more rapid, shallow breaths.
The mentioned effects are only some of the ways bad posture can be a health risk. Fortunately, there are many ways poor posture can be corrected, such as:
Find the cause of your bad posture
The first step in correcting your poor posture is finding its primary cause. As said in our discussion of Painful Feet, finding the cause of your problem gives you a better chance of determining a proper solution. Poor posture can be caused by many things such as shoe choice, muscle weakness, and even mental attitude and stress.
Practicing proper posture at work
If you find yourself sitting at your desk for long periods of time, this may be one cause of your poor posture. Most desks aren’t ergonomically designed and contribute to poor posture by making you lean forward to work on your computer, so ti’s best to get up from your desk at regular intervals to give your body time to correct itself and recover from the strain. Pain Free Working’s discussion of standing at work explains that experts have varying opinions on how often you should be leaving your desk: some say you need to apply the ‘20-8-2 rule’, in which you sit for 20 minutes, stand for eight, then walk for two, meaning you spend 20 minutes per hour on your feet. Others say 15 minutes per hour is enough.
Improve your sleeping position
When sleeping, the best thing you can do for your posture is to be in a position that maintains the natural curvature of your spine. A writeup on Elite Daily reports that lying on your back with a pillow under your knees and not under your head is arguably the best sleeping position for your spine. Sleeping on your side supported by a pillow by your head and between your knees can also be a great way to promote proper posture as you sleep.
Written by Janna West for physicalculturestudy.com