How many times did Mom and Dad tell you not to slouch?
Although it probably felt like it, they weren’t just nagging for the sake of nagging. Good posture is important for so many reasons. Back, shoulder and neck pain are the most obvious and common results of slouching, but that’s just the beginning. And our reliance on smartphones these days, isn’t helping.
Over time, poor posture causes misalignment of the spine, which can lead to joint stress and, eventually, degradation of the tissue surrounding the joints. Conditions such as degenerative arthritis can result.
Poor posture also restricts your breathing. Sitting or standing up straight (think of an opera singer) expands the diaphragm and allows the lungs to function optimally. This is especially important during physical exertion because blood and oxygen flow are restricted when your diaphragm is compressed from slouching. With good posture, your muscles will work more efficiently and use less energy, and you will have more endurance.
Tension headaches are another side effect of poor posture. Tension in your neck and shoulders can eventually work its way up and cause headaches. Often a poor workplace setup contributes. Check that your chair, keyboard and computer screen are at the correct height to allow you to sit up straight without looking up or down. Take breaks often to stretch and move around.
The same advice holds true for looking at your phone: Take breaks and stretch often. Hold your phone higher so you don’t have to look down.
When standing for long periods, shift your weight from foot to foot or from the balls of your feet to your heels. It can help to imagine you are a marionette with a string attached to the crown of your head holding you up. Relax your shoulders and let your arms fall naturally at your sides.
Shoulders back. Back straight. Stomach in.
Your body – and your mom – will thank you!