What is good posture? According to the American Chiropractic Association, posture is the position in which you hold your body while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.
Good posture is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. When you practice proper posture, you will find surprising benefits in your day to day life.
Here are a few health benefits of good posture:
Slouching constricts the airways. Proper posture will help you take deeper breaths, oxygenate your blood and help your nervous system and organs operate more efficiently. You’ll also have increased energy.
Workouts will be easier
Breathing better and posture will help your workouts feel less strenuous. You are much more likely to have proper form while running, doing Pilates, and during spin class which helps you power through your workout. You’re also less likely to experience workout related injuries.
Fewer aches and pains
Poor posture can cause headaches, neck strain, back aches and a weak core. Tight muscles lead to headaches, while slouching over your phone or computer compromises your neck and back. Correcting the way you sit and stand can save on wear and tear on your joints and spine, reducing the risk of tendonitis, bone spurs, and arthritis.
Your brain requires oxygen to function properly. Your improved airflow will help feed your brain so you are able to concentrate better.
Improved digestion and organ function
A squished body position puts unnecessary amounts of compression on organs that need space to function. Did you know poor posture has been linked to indigestion and acid reflex? Sitting and standing taller can provide more space for organs to work more fluidly, vs a compressed trunk.
How can you tell if you need to improve your posture?
One simple way is put your back flat against a wall. Then, place your head against the wall as well, and tuck in your chin. Raise your arms out to shoulder height and bend your elbows. The tips of your fingers will be pointing forward, and your elbows will be straight out from your shoulders.
Next, rotate your arms upward at the elbows, keeping them bent, and try to touch the back of your wrists to the wall. If your back arches, or you can’t get your wrists to touch the wall, that indicates poor posture.
Another way to test your posture is to stand with the back of your head against a wall, place heels 6 inches from the wall. Your buttocks and shoulder blades should touch the wall. There should be less than 2 inches between your neck or small of the back and the wall. A larger gap indicates bad posture and a curving spine.
Do you habitually stare down at your phone or tablet? You may be at risk for a condition known as “Text Neck”. To learn more about this condition and to learn how to prevent it, read Text Neck – What Staring at Your Screen is Doing to Your Posture and Your Health.