If you spend most of your day sitting in front of a computer, you probably don’t have the best posture. Poor posture may seem like an aesthetic issue that prevents you from standing tall and looking your best, but the truth goes much deeper – it could actually be affecting your health and contributing to chronic issues like back or neck pain.
What causes bad posture, anyway, and what can you do about it? The first step in resolving your posture problems is to identify the underlying cause. From there, you can take steps to improve your posture and relieve chronic pain. Keep reading to learn more about the effects of bad posture on your health and how to fix it.
What Causes Bad Posture, Anyway?
Posture is the way you hold your body,and there are two types: dynamic and static. Your dynamic posture is the way you hold yourself while moving, such as when you’re walking or bending down to pick something up. Static posture is the way you hold yourself when you’re not moving, such as sitting or sleeping.
Good posture is a way of holding yourself,so the spine is aligned properly to maintain the correct position of its natural curves.
Bad posture has many potential causes, some of which you may not even realize are affecting you. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common causes of bad posture:
- Muscle spasms related to injury
- Muscle tension or weakness
- Sitting at a computer all day
- Tilting your head to use a phone
- Slouching when sitting down
- Carrying a heavy backpack or purse
- Leaning on one leg while standing
- Wearing high heels too often
- Bending forward from your back
After reviewing this list, you may realize that your posture is worse than you thought. Keep reading to learn more about the health risks associated with bad posture.
What Are the Health Risks of Bad Posture?
If you’ve ever spent the better part of a day sitting at a desk, you’ve probably noticed that your neck, back, and shoulders get sore after a while. You may also notice that you’re hunching forward or pulling your legs in rather than planting them flat on the floor.
Pain, muscle tension, and stiffness are some of the most common side effects of poor posture, but there are some more serious health risks that you should be aware of as well.
Poor posture causes your spine to become misaligned which can affect your musculoskeletal system and wear away at your spine, making it weaker and more prone to injury. It may also constrict the nerves in your neck and spine or lead to irritation in the surrounding spinal nerves. Chronic poor posture often leads to chronic pain,and it can also decrease your flexibility and affect how well your joints move. In some cases, poor posture may affect your balance and increase your risk for falling. It can even affect biological functions such as breathing properly and digesting your food.
One of the more surprising health risks of bad posture is an increased risk for heart disease. Poor posture affects your spinal alignment, leading to blood vessel constriction which can then affect the amount of oxygenated blood and nutrients reaching the heart. Blood vessel constriction may also contribute to blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, all of which increase your risk for developing cardiovascular disease if left untreated.
Quick and Easy Tips to Improve Your Posture
Improving bad posture is not something you can accomplish overnight, but you can start taking the steps toward better posture right away. Simply by being more cognizant of your posture, you can make simple corrections that will add up to better posture over time.
Here are some other simple tips you can follow to improve your posture:
- Practice sitting properly with your shoulders back, your head straight, your knees slightly lower than your hips, and your feet flat on the floor.
- Work on your posture while standing – use your core muscles to keep your spine straight and bend your knees slightly to reduce pressure on the hips.
- Practice walking properly to maintain good posture while moving – keep your chin parallel to the ground and walk so your heel hits the ground first and rolls onto your toe.
- Alter your sleeping position for better spine alignment – sleep on your back or, if you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs and under one arm.
- Make adjustments to your work area – change the height of your desk or chair so you can see the middle of the computer screen when looking straight ahead.
- Do some exercises that improve body awareness and posture such as yoga and tai chi – you should also do exercises to strengthen your core muscles.
- Wear comfortable, supportive shoes – avoid wearing high heels too often because they put excess stress on your muscles and change your posture.
- When sitting for long periods of time, take breaks often to walk around or switch up your sitting position from time to time – avoid crossing your legs and hunching your shoulders.
- Buy a better desk chair that supports your back, hips, and thighs – you can also use a back pillow if your current chair doesn’t provide support for your lower back.
In addition to following these simple tips, there are a few products you can utilize to help you correct your bad posture once and for all. The Spino Support Posture Corrector, for example, is a chiropractor-endorsed posture correcting device that fits comfortably and invisibly under your clothes. Wear it daily to correct posture problems such as slouching to reduce pain and stiffness in your neck and back.
Correcting your posture and resolving related health issues takes time, but with concentrated effort, you can achieve your goal. To learn more about improving your health, check out this article about a 15-minute workout that could boost both your mood and your fitness.