Your posture has a massive impact on your overall health. Here are the top 10 reasons to make it your mission to improve your posture during Posture Month!
People with good posture enjoy:
Take action to become more aware, gain control and adjust your posture environment at work, at home and at play!
The bent-forward posture often associated with aging can compress lungs and abdominal organs leading to greater risk of heart disease, breathing, circulatory and digestion problems. In other words, strong posture is important for a long life.
Standing tall with head aligned over your shoulders, hips and feet makes you appear taller, more slender and younger! Just standing up straight can take years, and pounds off!
Arthritis, aka Osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease is a mechanical irritation of the joint that is often caused by unbalanced motion. This motion imbalance stresses joints causing formation of bone spurs.
Back pain is on the rise thanks to our sitting tech-driven society that spends more time than ever sitting at work and at play. Unused muscles weaken while others tighten locking bodies into a folded forward position. Back pain and a myriad of other motion and health problems result.
As posture becomes weaker and more bent forward the muscles have to work harder to keep the body balanced, which makes the muscles progressively tighter. This change in how your body balances created instability, increasing the risk of falls.
Poor posture causes muscles across the front of the chest to tighten while muscles across the back become weak and overstretched. What began as a bad habit eventually becomes bad posture compressing your chest. When breathing muscles are cramped and restricted, you process less oxygen. This ultimately threatens your circulation, your digestion, your concentration and your respiration. Taking full, deep breath requires an erect posture.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is mechanical disorder brought on by overworked muscles in the neck, shoulder, arm, forearm, and hand. Constant repetitions of a specific motion (like texting or typing) or isometric contractions (like holding a pen), can cause muscles in the arm to become sore and fatigued. As muscles tire, the tightness of the tendons and muscles pull on the elbow joint. This increased pressure on the elbow joint causes a misalignment of the elbow. This, in turn, spreads the bones of the forearm (the Radius and the Ulna) apart at the wrist.
Wrist and hand pain often is not because of what you do, but a result of what you don’t do. You don’t move your fingers, hands, wrists, and arms through the whole range of motion they’re capable of. Instead our fingers remained curled all day while typing, texting or gripping the steering wheel.
Since the nerves which control the upper extremities begin in the neck, posture distortions in the neck caused by chronic poor posture or old trauma can compress nerves traveling to the hand. Hand and wrist pain, numbness, tingling, and weak grip results. In posture and body mechanics, if you don’t use it you lose it
There’s a reason terms like “feeling down” and “down in the dumps” exist! When you stand tall and look straight ahead you feel lighter, brighter and more optimistic! In fact, people with great posture also appear more confident to others.
Studies show your brain takes cues from your posture – move with a happy and confident stride and your mood will follow suit.
Poor posture can restrict breathing, reducing your oxygen intake, and cause your energy levels to tank. Further, when your body isn’t aligned properly muscles work harder to keep you balanced and functioning, which depletes energy reserves faster.
Over time, the stress of unbalanced adaptive posture and motion results in muscle imbalance and joint wear. This begins a vicious cycle of unbalanced motion – causing breakdown – causing more unbalanced motion.
Poor posture habits and excessive sitting over-strengthens some muscles and weakens others. Because the body must balance, and because loose joint moves before a stiff joint, the chain of the body’s motion follows the path of least resistance. Posture worsens and body stress increases.
Muscles become chronically tight reducing flexibility. Ligaments stretch. Joints wear. Ultimately, the chronic muscle spasm, joint damage, and recurring injuries result.
Unstable motion caused by shoes, an injury or repetitive activity can create pain in the heel, ball of your foot, or toes leading to stiff or swollen feet ultimately interfering with many daily activities. For some, it can be seriously debilitating to the point of disability.
A survey by the APMA showed 77% of Americans has experienced foot pain and that 1/2 of all adults say foot pain has restricted their activities – like walking, exercising, or working.
If you experience leg pain from hip to foot which might include hip, knee, ankle pain or pain in areas of your legs or feet, you might be noticing the effects of stress on those joints from not moving them often enough, or you might be stressing your lower extremities by moving with poor posture.
Postural lower extremity pain is a common and often painful problem which can begin with an injury or from long-term habits. When your upper body is not aligned with your lower body, weight bearing is not balanced and you put uneven pressure on your lower extremity when you move. Even sitting “wrong” can stress the pelvis and set up lower extremity and leg imbalance.
The neck is a chain of 7 bones connected by ligaments and wrapped in muscles which supports a 15lb weight – your head! Neck pain is a painful problem often attributed to constantly working against gravity to balance your head on your torso.
Usually related to poor posture, neck pain might begin after an injury or auto accident, but can also be caused by long-term habits that strain the neck and upper back, like hunching over a computer or carrying a heavy backpack. Over time, posture distortions causes pain, breakdown and/or headaches.
While the shoulder is the most unstable joint in the body, unless you just suffered an injury, shoulders shouldn’t hurt. Often related to weak or poor posture, shoulder pain is usually positional, meaning it gets better or worse as body position changes. Left untreated shoulder posture distortions can lead to breakdown ( i.e. arthritis) in the spine and other joints from the stress of daily wear and tear.
Episodes of shoulder pain may come on after over-activity or without apparent cause, and is triggered as body adapts to mechanical stress, weak posture and inefficient motion.
Sleep posture will make the difference between waking up refreshed or waking up in pain. How well you sleep depends on your mattress, pillow, sleeping position – and the state of your body when you climbed into bed.
If you wake up with aches, back or shoulder pain, headaches, or hip pain, take a look at your sleep posture. Your pillow or mattress might not be providing the right amount of support.
Form is of paramount importance for sports performance. Poor form causes injuries that take players off the field in competitive sports, and sideline recreational fitness people across the board. Form determines function which is one reason why good posture is universally agreed to be important for winning.
Focusing athletes on maintaining optimal posture will improve:
– Control of motion
– Symmetry of motion
– Lung capacity
– Core strength
– Fine motor control
– Decreased risk of injury
Poor posture that bends the body forward, even just a little bit, compresses the lungs – and your capacity to breather deeply, slowly and fully is hindered.
In a tech-driven, busy society, many don’t notice that shallow breathing is becoming a way of life. Decreased lung capacity means you’ve limited the amount of oxygen reaching the bloodstream and the result is fatigue, insomnia, muscle cramps and for many feelings of anxiety and panic.
Good posture is crucial for deep diaphragmatic breath and the benefits are endless… improved blood circulation, promotes elimination of carbon dioxide, strengthens heart and lungs and promotes deeper sleep patterns.
Research shows a healthy employee has better concentration, higher energy levels and a more positive attitude, which translates to creativity, higher level thinking and better work product.
With a little bit of common-sense and ergonomic planning most workplaces can be designed to prevent back and neck pain, shoulder issues, repetitive stress injuries and stress!