How aware are we of daily posture? It affects more that (just) our appearance or our spinal health. Postural integrity facilitates and compliments complete breathing. Posture is important to overall functioning of the body. Yet, when not properly engaged, the effects of ill-posture slowly accumulate within the body. The cumulative impacts that result from less than optimal posture can be quite deleterious. This can be avoided by simply being more aware of posture (and by default breath)
America, we have a posture problem. Whether it’s the result of sitting at a desk all day, looking down at a smartphone, or lounging on a couch, poor posture is dogging people of all ages. And health experts are worried. “It’s a common and important health problem among Americans, and it can lead to neck pain, back problems, and other aggravating conditions,” says Meghan Markowski, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The concern with appearance in western society precludes the inner states of our well-being. We want to look good, smell good, eat well and generally be perceived as ‘doing fine’. All the while, the slow degradation of the human body is exacerbated by the human tendencies to do that which is antithetical to general good health and wellness. Poor diet, not enough movement (to include exercise), ready availability of distractions, stress and unease can contribute to postural neglect.
Some of the issues that are brought on by bad posture include: Back / Shoulder pain, Low circulation, Digestion problem, Misalignment of the spine, Improper lung function, Incontinence, constipation, Heartburn. Poor posture is part and parcel of these effects. They emerge either on a musculo-skeletal level, a neurological level, or a combination of both.
Good posture gives rise to deep(er) breathing and deep(er) breathing supports good posture. The complexity of this symbiosis is basically simple. Humans are upright beings, bipedal. The human design is most optimal when the skeleton is aligned. One of the quickest to improve our lung function (to help to keep our lungs healthy) is by addressing our posture. Sitting is not the only position that can compromise lung function, due to slouching. Standing postures are just as susceptible to slouching as are sitting postures and both can diminish overall lung function.
The tech addicted and sedentary lifestyles of poor posture can cause Aches, pains, muscle fatigue, and a whole lot of stress on your lower back. These effects are cumulative. Over the long-term they can be devastating to not just your lower back, but also to your overall health and wellbeing. The effects of poor posture are a barrier and a hinderance to complete well-being.
The good news is that there are many easy ways to counteract the effects of poor posture. Just remember that poor posture is an unconscious habit, so you’ll have to work hard to retrain your body in maintaining a healthy position. Not only by standing up ‘straight’ or sitting more erectly, the ability to breath while engaging good posture will work wonders upon overall good health. Strengthening the upper and mid-back muscle as well as stretching those of the upper torso and shoulder / chest areas will greatly aid the efforts to consciously engage good posture. It may feel strange at first, but your body will thank you!