Remember how growing up your mother kept reminding you to “sit up straight”? As it turns out, it may have been the best advise you received in your entire life.
People in the western world spend the majority of their days seated, or more accurately, slouched in a car, or in front of a computer, or using some other media. Poor posture may be blamed for everything from low back pain to tension headaches, poor vision, brain fog, poor digestion, being prone to injuries, and even a decreased life span.
Health Benefits of Good Posture
-Improved breathing: Slouching causes the spaces between your ribs to tighten, thereby compressing your ribcage and the lungs which it houses. Maintaining an elevated and open chest increases lung capacity, allowing your lungs to fully expand and take in more oxygen.
-Improved digestion and circulation: Poor posture can be the source of fatigue of the muscles which in turn compresses the blood vessels responsible for supplying the muscles and organs with blood. Good posture gets the blood flowing and moving throughout the body.
-Improved mood and mental outlook: There’s a psychological connection between posture and mood. When we feel down, we naturally slouch and avoid eye contact. Trick your brain into releasing more feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins, by straightening up, and your mood will improve naturally.
-Improved appearance: Good posture makes us look taller and appear more physically fit.
-Improved memory and learning: Your brain needs oxygen to function; when lung capacity improves, so does the brain function.
-Reduced neck and back problems: Your body is a biological machine; its every muscle, bone, and ligament are brilliantly designed to support your body during movement. The least energy expenditure occurs when in perfect alignment. When we slouch, neck, chest and shoulder muscles become tight while upper back muscles become stretched out. These muscles will eventually become stuck, or fixed, in those unfortunate positions. They become unable to contract or relax, therefore losing their function. And because muscles attach to bones, such as vertebrae, they will also pull the vertebrae with them causing spine misalignments, joint degeneration, and pinched nerves. If not taken care of, these problems will persist creating pain and even permanent damage, such as arthritis (abnormal wear and tear of the joints) and muscle atrophy.
How to Accomplish Good Posture in 3 Easy Steps
Step #1: Lift your chest up while lowering your chin down slightly until it is parallel to the ground.
Step #2: Relax your shoulders.
Step #3: Gently rotate your shoulders and upper arms out (this is called external rotation) bringing your shoulder blades closer together on your upper back. Be sure to keep the shoulders relaxed and away from the ears.
Practice these three steps regularly until your shoulders are straight and it no longer feels like hard work. Muscles have memory; the more they’re held in a certain position, the more likely they are to assume that position in the future. Eventually, good posture will feel as natural as breathing.
If the promised health benefits of good posture are not enough, consider this: having a good posture makes us look taller, thinner, younger, more attractive, and even makes us more successful in life!