Posture describes the position in which you hold your body. Since your posture is often an unconscious practice, you may not think about it often. Having good posture is important for your long-term health, so it's helpful to be mindful of your stance when standing or sitting. Maintaining good posture is a simple, ongoing process that can help improve your mental and physical health and prevent related medical conditions.
Having consistent poor posture can damage your health over time. While your posture can affect you in the long term, you may also notice symptoms of poor posture right away. Understanding the effects of poor posture can help motivate you to improve the way you hold your body.
The most common short-term side effect of poor posture is body pain. This often occurs in areas of the body such as your:
These aches are your body's way of alerting you of your poor posture. Pain occurs because of the unnecessary strain on your muscles. If you consistently keep a slouched stature, you may notice that you have ongoing pain in these areas and might need massages regularly.
The tension that you feel in your upper back, shoulders, and neck from poor posture can cause headaches and migraines over time. If you suffer from frequent migraines, improving your posture may be an effective way to provide relief, since this tension can also lead to a decrease in neck mobility that can cause migraines or headaches.
Consistent poor posture can cause physical changes to your body over time. This can include rounded shoulders and a potbelly. Another physical change you may notice is that your knees may stay bent when standing or walking. In severe cases, you might also experience spine deformities.
Arthritis is a long-term effect of poor posture. It occurs because of your body's natural response to heal the sore muscles your posture can cause. Healing these pains can lead to inflammation, irritating nearby joints and causing arthritis.
Poor posture can also affect your mobility and flexibility. This can cause your body to feel stiffer. Having decreased flexibility might increase your likelihood of injury as well, as your mobility range may not allow quick movements or certain twists.
Even if you've had consistently poor posture for years, you can take steps to improve it. This can help you reduce your chance of developing medical conditions such as arthritis and help you feel more comfortable by decreasing body pain. Here are four ways you can start improving your posture:
Stretching can exercise your muscles and prepare them for use. Strengthening your muscles can help you maintain better posture and relieve body aches. Some stretches to try include:
Finding stretches to build your strength and flexibility can help you maintain good posture and avoid injury. Commitment to general exercise, such as taking walks, can help you improve your health and muscle strength, leading to better posture.
As mentioned before, posture is often an unconscious choice you make. Try to be more mindful about how you're sitting or standing to ensure you recognize when you're holding your body in an unhealthy way. It's also helpful to be mindful of your habits and daily choices that may lead to poor posture. For example, if you work in an office setting, consider your desk set up to discover if it allows you to sit comfortably with good posture.
The clothes and accessories you wear can also contribute to your posture. Wearing comfortable, low heel shoes with good arch support can help you stand or sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor. Also, wearing clothing that encourages mobility can allow you to move freely and ensure that you're not keeping your body in unnatural positions for too long.
Your stature describes the way you hold your body. Whether you're standing or sitting down, it's important to keep a tall and straight posture. Try to align your shoulders with your hips and keep your back straight. This can help you maintain a tall stature, which allows you to stretch and build your muscles in a healthy way. Eventually, after practicing this stature regularly, you can maintain it for longer and without needing to make the mindful decision to do so.
It's important to maintain a healthy posture whether you're sitting or standing. While these positions share some posture factors, such as keeping a straight stature, there are some differences in the ways you can improve your sitting or standing posture:
When standing, it's helpful to imagine that there's a straight line running parallel behind your body. Try to align your body to this line. This means keeping your shoulders back and squared, standing straight and tall, and keeping your head level. Try to keep your stomach in so that your hips align with your shoulders. It's also helpful to keep your arms resting naturally at your side and to stand with your feet shoulder-length apart.
To sit with better posture, relax your shoulders and keep your elbows close to your body. Imagine 90-degree angles following from your shoulders to the tips of your fingers. Keep your feet flat on the floor and avoid crossing your legs for extended periods of time. Try to keep your thighs parallel to the floor and sit up as straight as possible. Maintaining your posture while sitting can be more difficult, so it's important to change your position often and take breaks to stand occasionally.
The more time and effort you invest in correcting your posture, the better. This can help you develop healthy habits and hold yourself comfortably. If you're concerned about the effects poor posture has had on your body, consider visiting us or calling us at 817-488-9991 for all of your diagnostic imaging needs.