I don’t know how on earth we start slouching! If we look at kids, their back shows a graceful ‘S’ curve and their movements are easy and effortless. As we get older, Things change: we become less and less active, we sit and stand in a wrong way…
The biggest issue is that sometimes we are not even aware that we aren’t sitting properly. The brain gets used to it, and then it becomes a habit, a bad habit.
Great posture will impact you on so many levels, it can turn your life around. When you sit right: You are in a better mood, you feel more self-confident, less doubtful, your energy is conserved, you feel less fatigue, less back pain, your balance is improved.
When I first read all these good posture benefits, I started wondering why and when do we slouch?
When Do We Slouch?
. We slouch when we use our phones: I started with this reason due to our excessive use of these devices on a daily basis. Most people bend or tilt their head down when they look at their smartphones or tablets, which applies pressure on the spine.
. We slouch when our screens are too low: We should know that our back, neck, and head follow our vision line. Therefore, if your screen is low, your eyes will follow, and you will end up slouching without even being aware of it.
. We slouch when we don’t have lumbar support: Consciously or unconsciously, you try to get away from the back of your chair, so you slouch. It’s always a good idea to invest in a chair with lumbar support — in order to keep the natural S curve of your back even after sitting for long periods of time. Nowadays, quality chairs with lumbar support are available and not very expensive. If you can’t afford one, you can buy a lumbar cushion– and place it on your chair to support your back.
. We slouch when we are tired and stressed: When you start feeling tired, and you need to get your work done as soon as possible, it’s hard for you to pay attention to your posture. That’s why it’s important to take breaks during the day, otherwise, you will give in and collapse your posture.
. We slouch when we care something heavy: Too much weight on our midsection can put pressure on the pelvis and affect our spine alignment. Heavy things do apply a lot of strain on your back, and slouching is your body response. Be aware of the weight of things you carry and how you carry them. For example, if you’ve been carrying a one-strap bag on the same shoulder, the unequal weight from the bag will cause one shoulder to become lower than the other.
. We slouch because of poor nutrition: Yes, poor nutrition can lead to poor posture. Our bones and muscles need vitamins and minerals to grow and function correctly. If you don’t get the nutrition needed for that, you will start slouching.
All in all, we slouch because of our new challenging life style! Desk job all day long, technology everywhere, fast food (bad nutrition) …
So, is slouching that bad? How does slouching impact our lives?
This Is What Slouching Does To Your Life – Slouching Effects
… Poor Digestion
When you slouch, you compress your abdominal organs, including your digestive tract. This pressure has a profound effect on how your intestines move food matter through. It can be unhealthy or painful especially when the stomach is trying to digest food.
I should also mention that poor digestion can lead to other serious health issues, potentially a nutritional deficiency.
… Soreness and Pain
The most common negative result of slouching is pain: back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain…
What most people don’t pay attention to is that when they slouch, not only they roll their shoulders forward, but they also flatten out their lower back, which will eventually lead to pain. That’s why lower back pain is the most common type of pain associated with bad posture, followed by the neck and shoulders.
Sitting in the wrong way for a long time can lead to serious health issues like subluxation. And by subluxation we mean when one or more of the bones of your spine move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. It causes a lot of stress on a person’s back, as well as irritation on the surrounding spinal nerves.
As a result of the previous negative effects of slouching, you will have a headache. Hunching over and looking down puts extra strain on your muscles and neck, which causes headaches. According to experts, tight neck muscles can send pain radiating up to the head.
… Pour circulation
If you are slouched over a desk where you sit hours and hours without making gradual posture changes, you’re putting yourself at risk of developing or worsening circulation problems. Why? Because you’re preventing your body from getting the necessary circulation it needs.
Taking the time to move throughout the day and making postural changes can not only help you have better posture, but it can also prevent you from serious health issues later in life.
When you adopt a poor posture, you add more tension and compression to structures that weren’t meant to bear extra weight. As a response, they call for more body energy to fully function, and you feel quickly fatigued and tired.
Contrary to what some people think, bad posture makes our bodies work more than good posture. The latter will make your body work properly, increase your energy levels, and be open to high-functioning processes.
… Risk for Heart Disease and Breathing problems
Maintaining a posture where your shoulders are rounded and your head is forward causes the muscles around your chest to tighten. Therefore, your rib cage’s ability to expand reduces leading you to take rapid, shallow breaths.
Believe it or not, studies have proven that there is a correlation between posture and heart disease. Slouching not only causes changes in the spine curve, but it can also lead to blood vessel constriction.
Incontinence is when you leak a little urine if you laugh or cough, and bad posture can cause it. Slouching increases abdominal pressure, which puts pressure on the bladder.
It might seem weird, but it’s true: The way you sit or stand impacts the way you feel.
This study focuses on the fact that muscular states are related to emotions, and that body posture does affect your stress response. To prove that, they assigned 74 participants to either a slumped or upright seated posture, and asked them to complete a reading task.
Results were shocking: upright participants reported higher self-esteem, more arousal, better mood, and lower fear, compared to slumped participants.
So, adopting an upright seated posture in the face of stress can maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive mood compared to a slumped posture.
Another study proved that your body posture not only affects what others think about you but also how you think about yourself. An upright posture will give you more confidence in your own thoughts and will improve your self-image.
So, let us sum up all the negative impacts of slouching on our mental health:
… Negative Mood
… Low self-esteem
Someone who has proper posture appears more confident and approachable, which will affect many social situations.
… Less Motivation
Less motivation can also stem from bad posture.
… Fear and Depression
It’s like a snowball effect. If you feel less motivated, stressed, and have low self-esteem, you will gradually feel depressed and scared of the outside world.
No evidence proves that poor posture directly causes serious problems like clinical depression and anxiety. But a number of studies have suggested that it may exacerbate the symptoms of these disorders.
… Sleep Problems
Poor posture can negatively impact our ability to sleep. According to experts, if our muscular system is not aligned properly, we won’t be able to fully relax.
How Can I Avoid Slouching? How Can I Correct My Posture?
+++ FIRST Be Aware Of Your Posture
Postural awareness is very important. Being constantly aware, contributes largely to your postural re-education because if you are unaware of being in a faulty posture, you won’t know when you need to correct it. You must be aware of times when you are hunching up your shoulders while working on the computer, or when your head is pushed or slumped forward.
+++ Exercise And Workout
The best way to improve your posture is to focus on exercises that strengthen your core; the abdominal and low back muscles that connect to your spine and pelvis.
You can use Stability balls, like this one on Amazon.
+++ Build An Active Workstation
Nowadays, it’s easy to have an active workstation that allows you to be less sedentary while you work. Sitting all day is bad for your health, so here some of the tools you can use to stay active while working:
+++ Meditation Can Help With Posture
Meditation is one of the ways to improve your posture. You might ask yourself “but how is that possible?!”.
Meditation is a practice that uses breathing to change brain function. If you are consistent with it, you will recognize some good changes in your life. You will feel more relaxed, the tension in your shoulders will reduce and you will feel more peaceful. It will be easier for you to improve and maintain your posture.
Final Thoughts - Slouching Effects
Our lifestyle seems to be so very busy nowadays. We often wake up early and rush to prepare for the work. We may enjoy spending time on our activities so that we forget to be cautious about our health, especially our posture.
Poor posture does much more than just affect your body’s physical structure. It impacts how our body produces hormones, how our blood is circulating, how we feel in our bodies, and how we’ll be able to move as we age.
We may not immediately recognize the damage our posture is doing, but our body does.
Postural imbalance affects us in a number of ways. It can cause soreness, muscle pain, poor digestion, fatigue, and even low self-esteem.
Now that you know the importance of adopting an upright posture and how bad it can be when you do it wrong. It’s time to take some action.
We would love to know your struggles with proper posture or slouching. Let us hear from you in the comment section below.