By Dr Tom Barnett MChiro LRCC
We have all heard about the importance of having good posture. So many of us have heard time and time again that sitting tall, holding your head high and keeping good posture is very important. However, besides looking poised, healthy and professional, why is having ‘good posture’ so important?
When you maintain your good posture, you will reinforce the important alignment in your neck and back, and you can keep your spine straighter. Studies have shown that good posture can help you have more energy, less stress and avoid fatigue. In fact, good posture is essential if you want to stay physically fit. It is often said that good posture is a sign of good health.
If you have poor posture, it is not only bad for your spine in the present, but it can also have disastrous effects later in life as well.
Here are a few ways poor posture can impact your health and well-being:
One of the most prominent negative effects that we tend to see from poor posture is a change in the spinal curves. Your spine naturally has certain curves. However, if you spend year after year sitting or standing with poor posture, perhaps sat at a computer all day or looking at your phone or tablet for long periods, your spine is put under a great deal of pressure. This is because you are putting your spine in an unnatural position.
These changes in the spinal curves can not only cause long-term pain and discomfort, but it can prevent your spine from being able to naturally absorb shock and maintain proper balance.
Studies have found that sitting all day with poor posture can impact your digestive organs. Poor posture compresses your digestive organs and leaves them incapable of functioning the way they should.
This can not only slow down the digestive process and impact your metabolism, but over time long-term compression of the digestive organs can seriously impair your body’s ability to consume and process food. You may ultimately find yourself with life-altering metabolic issues.
Both an Australian study on poor posture and life expectancy and an English study on poor posture and sitting found that individuals that sit all day with bad posture have an increased chance of developing cardiovascular issues. You may not only experience a shorter life expectancy, but one study found that those who sit most of the day experienced a 147% increase in developing cardiovascular disease.
When you sit all day with poor posture, you are preventing your body from getting the necessary circulation it needs. This can lead to the formation of varicose (spider) veins. This is particularly common in women.
If you spend enough time sitting with bad posture, you can start to experience chronic back pain and disc degeneration. Many people who maintain poor posture experience back pain day after day with no clue as to why they’re having issues. Unfortunately, these issues can often be traced back to posture problems from all the extra stress that has been put on the spine.
Overall, your poor posture may be doing more than just impacting the way you look. Take the time to try and get up and move during the day, suck in your tummy muscles, sit up taller with your shoulders back and your spine straight and visit your chiropractor for regular adjustments. Taking the time to do these things can not only help you have better posture, but can also prevent you from dealing with several serious health issues later on in life.