The truth of the matter is that bad posture is a source of many health issues. Not only does it contribute to back and neck pain, it affects many of the organs in the body as well.
The intestines, in particular, are very vulnerable to bad posture. Bad posture causes the intestines to compact, putting great stress on them and preventing them from serving their functions in the ways that they’re supposed to.
For this reason, bad posture often leads to digestive problems. While some of these problems are rather minor, others can be very serious. Read on to discover how bad posture interferes with healthy digestion.
Do I Have Bad Posture?
Bad posture is characterized by a few different physical habits. In most individuals, these habits are undertaken subconsciously. However, there are other cases in which bad posture comes as a result of a person’s physical build. Listed below are the three most common posture mistakes.
Should rolling occurs when a person allows his or her shoulders to sag down and toward his or her chest. The shoulders are meant to be held back and parallel to the ground.
This habit, more so than any other habit, has a tremendous negative effect on the body. Not only does it put a great deal of stress on the spine, it causes the organs within the body to “mush” together as well. This mushing prevents food waste from making its way through the digestive system in the way that it’s designed.
Some individuals will attempt to correct their posture by overcorrecting. What this leads to is an over-arched back and a posterior that juts out from the rest of the body. In essence, if your butt sticks out substantially from the rest of your body, you’ve got bad posture.
This, again, disturbs the natural positioning of the digestive organs, preventing them from doing their job as designed. Ideally, your shoulders and calves should extend the furthest behind your body.
Another symptom of over-correcting posture is to straighten out the back until it’s tight and in a straight line. This will usually result in the hips jutting forward, putting a great deal of stress on the lower back and core.
The spine is designed to be curved as a means of holding everything in its correct place. Not only can back straightening cause digestive issues, but severe back pain as well. If you spend a great deal of your life standing, your straightened-back standing style can have serious negative effects on your health.
How Does Bad Posture Affect Digestion?
We’ve already explained the way in which bad posture can affect digestion. Now, we’re going to explain the exact ways in which digestion is affected. Whereas some of the digestive problems caused by bad posture are only minor, others can be quite serious.
Do you experience serious gas or bloating after eating? If so, your posture could very well be the culprit. Sitting hunched over in a chair after you eat will prevent the food you just ate from being properly passed through the intestines. This will cause gas to build up, resulting in bloating which can be painful or uncomfortable.
Bloating will often result in stomach distension as well; a condition which causes your stomach to stick out further than it normally would. These are typically not serious medical issues, but they are still less than desirable.
When you engage in bad posture, you tightly compact your digestive organs. When these digestive organs are compacted, they don’t receive adequate amounts of blood for digestion. The result? Digestion that is painstakingly slow.
Slow digestion can result in a number of problems, including constipation, stomach burning, and low energy, to name just a few. These problems, if not treated or corrected, can compound, and turn into even bigger problems. In essence, fixing your posture can have a seismic positive influence on your health.
Carbohydrate Absorption Issues
It’s been found that, not only can bad posture slow down the digestive process, it can disturb it entirely. What exactly does this disturbance entail? A phenomenon known as carbohydrate malabsorption.
Carbohydrate malabsorption occurs when carbohydrates are not properly digested. Instead of being digested, they remain in the stomach, preventing other nutrients from being digested. Some symptoms of carbohydrate malabsorption include diarrhea, bloating, and stomach distension.
How Can You Improve Your Posture?
The bright side of all of this is that you can work to improve your posture. If you suffer from digestive problems, you can help to eliminate them through routine and close personal attention. Follow the following tips to help improve your posture.
Do Core Exercises
A great way to improve your posture is by strengthening your core. Your core is, in a lot of ways, the foundation of your posture. It sets a steady structure upon which the upper half of your body can rest. If it’s weak, it will struggle to hold the upper body upright in the correct position.
Your core includes everything from your abs, to your lower back, to your obliques. It can be strengthened through a wide range of exercises, from abdominal crunches, to squats, to planks, and more. Hitting the gym and performing these exercises on a regular basis can go a long way in promoting core strength.
It’s important to note, though, that unless you’re doing your exercises with correct form, you won’t be helping your posture. Make sure that you’re doing everything by the book.
Engage in Regular Stretching
Often times, bad posture comes about because the muscles in the body are tight and contracted. Because the body can not stretch and move naturally, it essentially forces itself into bad posture.
This is why, in addition to engaging in core exercises on a regular basis, you should also be stretching on a regular basis. Morning stretching, in particular, can do a lot to help you get through the day without any body rigidity presenting itself.
While you should be engaging in all types of stretches, it’s most important to focus on stretches which prioritize proper posture. These are primarily stretches which target the back and core.
Practice Correct Sitting
If you work in an office, you spend a great deal of your life sitting. Therefore, if you practice improper sitting posture, you could be greatly impacting your body’s ability to digest food.
For this reason, it’s vital that you are sitting correctly. Most people, when sitting, tend to hunch over, putting pressure on the abdomen. This is definitely the case when these people are forced to look down at computers. Your computer should be positioned so that you must sit up straight to see it.
Use Proper Sleeping Positions
Another way to promote good posture is to sleep in healthy sleeping positions. Many people will curl up into a ball while sleeping. This style of sleeping, however, puts pressure on both the spine and the abdomen.
You can lay on your stomach, back, or side, but regardless of which way you lay, you need to ensure that the your spine keeps its natural alignment. Make use of pillows to offer support to parts of your body which can not hold up the spine themselves.
Make Use of a Posture Correction Device
One last thing you can do to help improve your posture is to make use of a posture correction device. These devices come in many different forms, and are worn throughout the day to provide support to the proper parts of the back.
You can wear these devices under your clothes, allowing you to utilize them at work, at the gym, and just about everywhere else you go. They’re very useful because they allow you to work on posture correction without even thinking about it.
Bad posture can be a true menace to the digestive system. Not only can it cause bloating and slow digestion, it can make it difficult for the body’s organs to properly absorb necessary nutrients.
Fortunately, bad posture can be reversed. Though reversing bad posture is not an overnight phenomenon, it is something which can be accomplished over the course of a few months. Being mindful of your posture and engaging in a regular exercise routine can work wonders in speeding up the process.
By being cognizant of your posture and by putting forth true effort everyday, you can improve your posture, and your body’s ability to digest food.