Chances are, you’ve had at least one family member who regularly admonished you for slouching during childhood . . . and, like most of us, you probably rolled your eyes and wondered why it was such a big deal. Now, of course, you recognize that your posture has a lot to say about your character and personality, as well as provide others with ample evidence about the mood you happen to be in.
But what if good posture does more than just show the world that you’re confident and healthy? Experts are saying that proper posture techniques actually help to decrease joint and back pain, migraines, arthritis, and fatigue, in addition to increasing the lung capacity. All of that works by simply training the body to position itself so that the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments.
According to Eston R. Dunn (who holds a masters in Health Sciences from Stafford University, by the way), the list of detrimental side effects from poor posture is just as important to recognize. As he says, ” . . . the human body is meant to function from a position of balance and equilibrium with a place for everything, and everything in its place. When in optimal alignment, the musculo-skeletal system acts to prevent damage to the more vulnerable internal systems of the body allowing for optimal and stress-free function.” What that means is, when the body is allowed to work the way it’s supposed to, it will use less energy to accomplish more which results in more energy and less pain for you. The problem is, most of us ignore our body’s pleas for balance as we hunch over our computer desks or slouch in front of the TV.
Poor posture has multiple effects on our health and well-being: it promotes shallow breathing by not allowing our lungs to fully expand; contributes to poorly-aligned joints which forces some muscles to work too hard while others aren’t used at all; leads to chest pain and heart palpitations, digestive disorders, menstrual pain, and even obesity (because the body is not working in a very efficient manner). Prolonged habits of poor posture can even lead to the body not being able to straighten up, proving mom and grandma right once again when they said that “if you don’t straighten up, you’ll get stuck that way.”
Perhaps the few extra pennies that an ergonomic chair costs would be worth it. It’s amazing that after we use and abuse our bodies every single day, we’re still surprised when something breaks down or causes more pain than it should. Yes, you may be too young to feel that way, but the lack of maintainance that we give our bodies actually accelerates aging. Incorporate a few simple habitual changes, like learning how to sit and stand straight, and reap the rewards that your body will provide you with. After all, it’s the only one you have; shouldn’t you take care of it?