When you’re at your desk sending last-minute emails, or deeply focused on editing that board presentation, your posture is probably the last thing on your mind. Though most of us probably don’t actively think about our posture throughout the day, we should: Posture can affect your health in some seriously surprising ways.
Good posture can greatly improve your energy levels. By limiting pain, alignment faults, and sequelae of other injuries caused by poor posture, people are more likely to live an active lifestyle and do so for longer. Good posture allows for easier respiration as you are putting your diaphragm in the optimal position for breathing, which in turn can reduce pain.
While good posture can have major health benefits like better energy and respiratory health, poor posture can actually contribute to other health issues beyond neck or back pain.
Many different things can trigger a headache, but did you know your posture can play a role? There are many kinds of headaches, but cervicogenic headaches originate in the neck.These headaches start in the base of your neck and radiate up. They are typically caused by forward head posture (i.e. head in front of your shoulders and trunk), which places increased stress on the joints and muscles in your upper neck.”
Fatigue & Sleep Issues
Poor posture can make you feel more fatigued than usual. The body must work harder and expend more energy to keep the body upright in the proper posture position, while fighting poor posture habits. This requires increased energy and leaves one feeling tired. Postural deficits can lead to pain and alignment changes that make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. This kind of pain can often wake people at night.
Hip, Knee, Or Ankle Pain
It’s common knowledge that poor posture can contribute to pain in your upper body, like neck or back pain, but it can also cause discomfort in your lower body. It’s hard to believe you can injure your lower extremities while sitting. However, the joints in your lower extremities are very much connected to your spine and posture — literally and figuratively. Altered posture and muscle imbalances caused by poor posture can place strain on your hips, knees and even feet.
Digestive health problems can be caused by a wide range of factors, but poor posture can contribute to stomach issues like acid reflux or heartburn. When one assumes a slouched posture, the organs are compressed in the abdomen, which makes it harder for the body to digest food, and decreases one’s metabolism.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
So, you may not have heard of this syndrome before, but it’s no less uncomfortable. Forward head posture and slouched shoulders can restrict nerves and [blood] vessels in the lower neck, and upper chest that supply your arms. Symptoms are often diffuse and mild tingling, and/or numbness. This is known as thoracic outlet syndrome, and is often improved with better posture,”
Yes, poor posture can cause both physical and mental stress. Poor posture affects your body’s natural alignment, which puts physical stress on the body and causes soreness and pain. This can also translate into mental stress, decreasing one’s motivation, and overall mood.” Moreover, TIME reported that a 2014 study found bad posture negatively impacts your mood, and can contribute to depression and fear.
The organization Arthritis Research U.K. explains that, in the long run, poor posture can be extremely detrimental to your joint health, and can be a contributing factor in developing arthritis. Posture is often modifiable, i.e. we can change it. However as we age, poor posture can lead to joint degeneration, arthritis and limited mobility, which turns into ‘fixed’ poor posture. Making small changes now can prevent long term posture changes in the future.