‘Sit up straight’
Most of us, at one time or another, have had that refrain directed our way, usually by our well-meaning parents.
Now many people across the globe sit for hours and hours at their desks and/or laptops; and most don’t sit upright with good posture.
And it’s killing us. Literally.
You may have heard the saying ‘Sitting is the new smoking’ – meaning the deleterious affects of our sitting-dominant, sedentary modern lives is undermining our health on the scale or to the degree that cigarette smoking does.
The health consequences of modern sedentary life is not the focus of this article.
The focus here is on our posture. Good posture obviously is protective against back strain and pain.
It turns out that having good or bad posture affects many aspects of health, from mood to lung function and many things in between:
- mood (i.e. depression)
- energy levels (fatigue)
- abdominal organ function
- joint range of motion
- breathing/lung capacity (respiratory function)
- muscle, joint, ligament strain
- neck and back pain
- TMJ (jaw) pain
With all the time we now spend on computers, watching Netflix, and even worse, looking down at our phones, we’re developing, as a culture, what’s called ‘forward head posture’. It creates enormous stress on the spine and its supportive muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
Good posture defined – standing: When looking from the side, having the ear, shoulder, hip and ankle in line.
When sitting: ears over shoulders, chin parallel to the floor, hip and knees even, with the knees parallel to the floor.
FINAL NOTE: Repetitive poor posture causes vertebral subluxation – misalignment of the spine resulting in nerve irritation. Chiropractors specialize in the correction of subluxation. Upon initial evaluation, they will often check your posture as part of the examination process, and then periodically to chart your improvement over time.
How Your Posture Affects Your Health [IdealSpine.com]
Forward Head Posture Found to be a Primary Cause of Altered Sensori-Motor Control and Excitability of the Autonomic Nervous System [CBP nonprofit]
Why good posture matters [Harvard]
6 Surprising Health Risks Of Poor Posture (Besides Harming Your Bones) [Save Institute] https://saveourbones.com/6-surprising-health-risks-of-poor-posture/
Increase or Decrease Depression: How Body Postures Influence Your Energy Level [Biofeedback Journal]
Body Posture Affects Confidence In Your Own Thoughts, Study Finds [Science Daily]
Maintaining Good Posture: Ergonomic and movement strategies can improve posture and help prevent injuries. [American Chripractic Assoc]
The effects of upright and slumped postures on the recall of positive and negative thoughts. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. 2004;29:189.
Posture: Align yourself for good health [Mayo Clinic] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/posture-align-yourself-for-good-health/art-20269950