While we all hear about the importance of good posture as children, most people slump and slouch in their chairs as adults. But this behaviour might be having more of an impact than you realize. In fact, poor posture can have a variety of negative effects on health that you may not be aware of.
Fortunately, you can make changes to your posture even later in life simply by adjusting your habits. You may want to consider speaking with a doctor or using direct access for physical therapy, before making any major lifestyle changes. But, while healthy posture may feel uncomfortable at first, your body will learn to adjust and you’ll gradually notice greater comfort throughout your body and reduced symptoms of chronic pain.
Most people don’t know about the various benefits of good posture, but the truth is that small adjustment to your body can help your physical health in a number of ways. These are just a few of the benefits you can expect to see over time if you improve your posture:
A lower level of stress on the ligaments that connect your spine joints
- Reduced chronic muscle and back pain
- Decreases fatigue through the more effective use of muscles
- Less wear on the surface of your joints (which can lead to arthritis)
- Improved alignment between your joints and bones
When you have poor posture, your body is forced to adapt by putting unequal levels of stress on specific muscles and joints rather than a balanced force throughout your body. Your back will eventually adjust to feeling more comfortable in these positions, but you are reducing your joint and muscle health every time you reinforce the habit.
Fixing your posture starts with making adjustments to the way you hold your body when sitting and lying down. It’s common for people to slump down in these positions, but it’s easy to start increasing the quality of your posture.
When sleeping, you should be lying on your back or side on a firm mattress with the pillow supporting your head (but not your shoulders). Make sure to avoid sleeping on your stomach, as doing so can cause substantial strain on your back, especially on a softer mattress.
Correct sitting posture starts with a straight back that’s entirely against the chair from your buttocks to shoulders. Your feet should be uncrossed and lightly touching the floor, and you should take regular breaks from sitting in the same position every 30 minutes in order to avoid fatigue. The majority of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives, and chronic bad posture is a leading cause of these symptoms. Making simple, easy adjustments to your posture when sitting and lying down will significantly lower your risk of suffering pain and discomfort later in life. Best of all, it’s never too early to start!