Good posture or spinal alignment is essential for the overall health of the body. The bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons all suffer when the spine is out of alignment.
And, as you age, your spinal alignment deteriorates more rapidly. That’s why it is very important for a person to take steps now to stop any further deterioration of their spine.
In addition to age, there are many other factors attributable to poor posture. For example, a person who is sedentary throughout most of the day will not have as good a spinal alignment as one who exercises regularly.
For obvious reasons, regular exercise is the key to proper alignment and spine stabilization. The more exercises a person does, the stronger his supporting bones and muscles will be. And, the stronger one can get their inner and outer core, the more properly aligned their spine will be.
When you are educated on the different effects a poor posture has on the body, you will consciously make an effort to improve your posture as quickly as possible. Some of these effects include:
- Unnecessary strain on your muscles: Over time, your body starts to fight back in the form of pain in the area that has been compressed for so long. This can be neck, shoulder, back, or leg pain.
- Difficulty digesting food: When the spine is out of alignment, the food ingested is unable to travel the pathway to the stomach smoothly. This can result in indigestion or acid reflux.
- Difficulty breathing: If you sit in a slouched position for a prolonged period of time, this begins to slow your proper blood and oxygen flow and will result in poor breathing and an increased lack of energy.
- Tension headaches: Without correcting poor posture, you may start to experience tension headaches. This is pain that results from the constant compression of the muscles in the neck and shoulders which travel to the head. Typically, people who sit at a computer all day suffer from tension headaches because their posture while seated is not proper and they do not stand and move on a repeated basis.
- Can worsen depression: Because a person stands or sits in a slouched position most of the day, this can restrict the vital flow of blood to the brain and can result in increased feelings of depression. Studies show that misalignment of the spine is a key factor in poor mood simply because the body cannot function properly in a constricted position. Slouching causes this constriction which prevents the body from functioning at its optimal level.
So, what are some things you can do to improve your posture? Follow and practice these 5 tips daily:
- When you are standing, make a conscious effort to bring your shoulders back and thrust your chest forward. You will see that this allows better oxygen flow and it will be less difficult for you to breath. You are also strengthening your upper core which will in turn aid in slowly realigning your spine.
- When you are sitting, make sure you have some form of lower lumbar support. This could be a cushion, pillow, or even a rolled up beach towel. Once again, be sure that your shoulders are pulled back to a comfortable level and your chest is forward.
- If you spend most of your workday at a desk, get up and move around at least once an hour. Stretch your legs and arms as often as you can during the day. Walk to the coffee machine or down the hall to the restrooms, just to get your blood circulating again. When you walk, be sure to pull your shoulders back and thrust your chest forward.
- In the morning when you wake up, put your arms together behind your head and keep your legs extended on the bed. Take several deep breaths, hold, and release to get a good stretch. Do this every morning for a few minutes and it will not only help with your posture but, it is also a good way to calm your insides before starting your hectic day.
- Exercise to strengthen your core. The best exercises for this are Pilates and Yoga or Meditation. It takes great discipline to practice these exercises, but, you will see in the long run, the benefits will clearly be worth it. Once your posture is back in proper alignment, you will experience an overall sense of good health and wellbeing.