A Simple Lifestyle Change: Straightening Your Posture

The posture of a person is a strong indicator of what a person’s bone and muscle structure will look like in the future. Taking the time each day to align your posture and making a habit out of it can be one way to really impact your future health. Straightening your posture is a simple, but highly effective way to make a lifestyle change. Having straight posture is very overlooked in our society, especially with all of the office jobs. Here are just a few of the negative effects that a person can see or feel right away from poor posture.

Misalignment: The most obvious thing that bad posture does to your body is it forces your spinal column to move out of alignment. When you sit for hours at a time with incorrect posture, you can already start to feel your neck, upper back, or lower back start to ache. The misalignment of the spine can eventually lead to herniated discs, which may cause chronic pain and numbness.

Fatigue: This is one of the more surprising, but extremely common results of bad posture. Because your muscles depend on proper alignment to function normally, a misaligned spinal column will make certain muscles work harder than necessary and this will make your body more tired than usual.

Joint Stress: The body has connective tissue in certain areas of the body that need protection from impact. There are some areas on the body that do not have this tissue, and they are not meant to bear much impact, so when you have a misaligned spine it affects these kinds of areas. The result from this can cause short or long term pain. The joints that are mostly affected are the spine, knees, and shoulders.

Flexibility: The term flexibility can also be referred to as your body’s range of motion. Bad posture significantly affects your range of motion. Range of motion is the amount of movement and distance that your joints and muscles will move. When your posture is bad, muscles and ligaments in other parts of your body compensate for your alignment. After time, these muscles and ligaments will become extremely tight and will hinder your movement.

Besides those listed above, there are a lot of other bad effects that can come from bad alignment. There are many health problems in our society and bad posture can be the cause of a lot of those. Straightening your spine is such a simple change that you can apply to your life now!  Here are some steps that you should try following as religiously as possible. It would be a good idea to print out this list and hang it somewhere that you will see it everyday.

1. Get rid of bad posture habits: I found this great site that discusses 7 Postural Habits to Make Now to Increase Your Health, and I’d like to start off my list with these. The list offers 7 simple solutions that can be applied to your life in seconds! Some of the things that this article discusses are squatting down, sleeping on your side, and keeping weight on your heels. You can click the link above to read more.

2. Train your posture muscles: There are certain muscles and ligaments in your spinal column that are made to hold your posture for you, but if these muscles are weak and never exercised, then your back will feel pain just from holding a proper posture. Standing up with proper posture and doing simple exercises such as moving your arms slowly up and down can build your back muscles. Also, going to the gym or attending a yoga class can have a significant impact. The importance of behavior modification in this area is key!

3. Take Standing Breaks: This tip is especially important for those of you who have office jobs! No matter how great your posture is while you are sitting, it is still extremely important to stand up, walk around, and stretch your back. Standing up every 30 minutes would be the best, but even every hour is great. You may even want to consider adding a NordicTrack treadmill or some sort of treadmill desk to your office space, so that you decrease sitting time.

4. Exercise: This one is the most obvious and most forgotten tips. Everyone realizes the amazing benefits you can receive from exercise, but even those aren’t enough to keep some of us motivated. However, you can add proper posture to the list of many benefits that exercise does for our body. As mentioned above, yoga is a great way to achieve proper posture and strengthen all those back muscles! Good posture is just another reason to add exercise to your life.

Proper posture is definitely overlooked in our nation. It does not seem like a big issue and people do not even realize the impacts that bad posture can have on their bodies. I hope this article has helped you realize some of the harm that can come from improper posture, and that you can apply some of these changes to your life. All of these changes only take seconds to apply and then eventually they will become habits, and you will be a healthier person overall!