Do you want to look and feel your best? Of course, everyone does. What if I told you that standing at attention, soldier, is one way to improve your well-being instantly?
Good posture does much more than improve your appearance. Improper alignment can lead to injuries and chronic pain that significantly reduce your overall quality of life. Once you discover the substantial health benefits, you’ll sit up a bit straighter and stand a little taller.
It Eases Lower Back Pain
Nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain, and 16 million experience chronic aching, often in their lower back. Back pain remains one of the leading causes of lost workdays due to illness, and it costs the economy at least $12 billion per year.
Many people who experience chronic back pain end up going on disability, and those who do not often nevertheless find their daily activities limited. However, proper posture can eliminate many causes. Some individuals find relief from a back brace or other postural support garments. However, do exercise caution not to rely on these props to an extreme — it’s vital also to strengthen the musclessurrounding the region.
It Alleviates Neck Strain
Today, everyone glues their eyes to their screens, but this behavior can lead to significant neck pain and poor posture. Working with your head down for extended periods can lead to chronic neck and shoulder pain, and even spur headaches.
If you work on a computer, adjust your workstation so that you can see your screen while sitting straight with your eyes facing ahead. Avoid pushing your monitor too far back on your desk, prompting you to lean in and squint at tiny print. Ask your HR department for a larger monitor or adjust the font size so that you can see without hunching forward.
It Helps You Breathe More Deeply
If you need to calm yourself down in a jiffy, taking a few slow, deep breaths is one way to tell your nervous system that you’re not in immediate danger. Folks who struggle with anxiety and panic attacks often use this method to self-soothe — it’s free and discreet. However, you can’t draw breath if you don’t give the air anywhere to go.
This principle explains why yogis sit straight in lotus pose or lie flat in savasana to meditate. If you find yourself slouching during the day, sit up, and take several slow, full breaths. You’ll calm your mind and help any tight muscles in your back to loosen up.
It Can Improve Arthritis Symptoms
Poor posture puts pressure on the joints of your back, but it can also lead to imbalances elsewhere in the body. If you have any of the various forms of arthritis, failing to stand straight can exacerbate your condition and make your symptoms worse.
Improper posture puts undue stresses on your joints. Over time, this tension can further destroy the cartilage and synovial fluids surrounding your knees, etc. Make an effort to keep your alignment correct to prevent making your condition worse.
It Can Increase Your Athletic Performance
Think of your lungs like balloons. If you constrict them in the middle — like you do when you slouch — you can’t blow in as much air. If you’re an endurance athlete, you need all the oxygen you can get to power through your miles.
Improper posture can also lead to injuries that sideline you. The wrong alignment shifts your center and impairs your ability to activate the muscles that stabilize your spine by as much as 50%. When running or walking, keep your chin up and your eyes forward, as your arms swing naturally by your sides.
It Helps Reduce Depression
Over time, sitting with a continually slumped forward posture can make you feel heavy and achy, which increases feelings of tiredness and irritability. These emotions parallel those experienced by people with depressive disorders. A recent study investigated the effects of improved posture on mild to moderate depression and found that these patients felt more alert when they sat up straight with their shoulders back.
While improving your posture is no substitute for medical treatment and therapy, if you have a disorder if you have the mild blues, stand up straighter. See if your mood doesn’t improve.
It Can Make You Appear More Confident
Finally, you often begin to feel the way you appear to others — that’s why the cliché, “fake it till you make it” exists. If you want to present a more confident air, improve your posture. People will assume you have a take-charge attitude and treat you differently, which, in turn, can boost your self-esteem.
Improve Your Posture and Your Overall Health Today
Improving your posture goes a long way toward bolstering your well-being. Stand tall, put your shoulders back, and face the world with perfect alignment!