There is a tendency for many of us to scoff at the idea of bad posture being detrimental to the body. However, bad posture is a serious matter. It can lead to a number of health issues, causing not only back pain, but digestive problems and psychological issues as well.
Perhaps you suffer from bad posture, and are starting to feel its ill effects? Maybe you’re looking to get rid of these effects by correcting your posture? While posture correction is not an overnight process, it can be accomplished through hard work and dedication.
No two people can correct their posture in the same span of time. Whereas some individuals can fix bad posture in mere weeks, others take months, or even years to accomplish the task. Let’s get into what posture correction entails, shall we?
How Do You Know if You Have Bad Posture?
Before you can start fixing your posture, you need to understand what’s causing it. Humans make a number of different posture mistakes, and often don’t even realize that these mistakes are being made. Three of the most common mistakes include flattening the back, protruding the posterior, and rolling the shoulders.
Flattening Your Back
Flattening of the back typically occurs when a person is making an attempt to have correct posture. However, in this attempt, said person over-corrects, causing the back to be stiffer and straighter than it’s designed to be.
The spine has a natural curve, and is not supposed to be entirely straight. Those who flatten their backs typically suffer pain after long periods of standing. This pain usually occurs in the lower back, upper back, and neck.
To help fix this mistake, you might consider strengthening your core and practicing proper sitting technique.
Protruding Your Posterior
A posture mistake made by many “front-heavy” individuals is protruding the posterior. Because excess weight exists in a person’s stomach, this person will typically involuntarily lean forward, causing the butt to jut out slightly.
This type of posture generally produces tightness in the lower back. When left alone for too long a period, this tightness can turn into all-out pain.
The key to fixing said posture is to pull your head upward and to look straight ahead. There is a tendency for many who make this posture mistake to poke out the neck past the front of the body.
Rolling Your Shoulders
Perhaps the most common posture mistake made is rolling of the shoulders. Shoulder rolling occurs when the shoulders are allowed to hang down and in towards the chest. Generally, this posture will result in your knuckles facing outward when your hands are by your side.
Those with poor strength in their upper backs typically suffer from rolled shoulders. This is because their back muscles are not strong enough to support the stabilization of the shoulders.
Generally, you can help to correct this posture by engaging in core exercises. However, it’s also important to be perpetually aware of the posture you’re demonstrating. Consistent correction efforts will speed up the overall correction process.
Why Should You Fix Your Bad Posture?
There are a number of reasons to fix your bad posture. Generally, the faster you can fix it, the better. Bad posture can lead to health problems of all kinds, some of them physical and some of them psychological. Below are some of the more common repercussions of bad posture.
Perhaps the most common repercussion of bad posture is back soreness. When the back is curved improperly over a long period of time, it suffers everything from nerve damage, to muscle tightness, to blood vessel restriction; all of which can produce a great deal of pain.
When bad posture is occuring, undue stress and pressure is being placed on the lower and upper back. Because of this, everything from the ligaments, to the muscles, to the bones are being forced to work much harder than they otherwise would.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
You might be surprised to hear it, but bad posture can actually contribute toward the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is because, when bad posture occurs, the shoulders roll forward, putting stress on the nerves in the wrists and hands.
Generally, bad posture alone won’t cause carpal tunnel syndrome. However, when in tandem with another cause, it can serve to exacerbate the problem. Doing away with chronic carpal tunnel will often require a correction in posture.
If you experience chronic bloating, exhaustion, or nausea, your digest system is likely being disturbed in some way. Often times, the digestive system becomes disturbed because of poor posture.
When poor posture occurs, the digestive organs are mashed together. This mashing restricts blood flow to the organs, preventing them from working at their optimal levels. Correcting your posture will take undue stress off of these organs, allowing them to operate adequately.
Poor Blood Circulation
Poor posture doesn’t only hurt the digestive system. It hurts the circulatory system as well. When you hunch over, you’re putting a great deal of pressure on your torso and the areas surrounding it. This restricts blood flow, preventing blood from making it to where it needs to go.
Poor circulation results in everything from fatigue, to increased inflammation, to numbness in the extremities. In some cases, it can even cause damage to the internal organs.
How Do You Go About Correcting Bad Posture?
If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you yourself are looking to fix your posture. If so, you’re in luck. By following the below tips on a consistent basis, you will start to see legitimate results.
Practice Proper Sitting Form
If you work in an office setting, you likely spend around a full third of your weeks sitting. This means that, if you practice poor sitting form, it more than likely has a negative effect on your standing posture as well.
For this reason, it’s important to practice proper sitting form. Most people tend to lean forward when sitting, putting stress on the lower back. Instead, you should be sitting straight up so that your shoulder blades are just as far back as your butt.
One of the reasons that people practice bad posture is because their muscles are too tight to practice proper posture. When the muscles are contracted, it’s next to impossible for a person to raise their shoulders and pull up their back.
For this reason, regular stretching is an absolute necessity. In addition to stretching the lower and upper back, you must stretch all of the other muscles in the body. Every muscle has an effect on the other muscles; if one muscle is tight, the other muscles may not function as designed.
Strengthen Your Core
Your core includes everything from your abdominal muscles, to your lower back, to your obliques, and is instrumental in providing support to the rest of your body. Often times, those with weak cores also demonstrate poor posture.
If you’ve got bad posture, you can help to correct it by strengthening your core. Exercises which can be used to strengthen your core include planks, crunches, deadlifts, and squats, to name just a few. Often times, strengthening the core alone can result in good posture.
Wear a Posture Corrector
Another way to help improve your posture is by using a posture corrector. A posture corrector is a device which you wear on your torso, and which basically forces you into having good posture.
Wearing a posture corrector will allow for you to unconsciously improve your posture. You can wear it underneath your clothes during work, during school, or at the gym.
So, How Long Does it Take to Fix Bad Posture?
Those who suffer from bad posture have developed said posture over years and years of reinforcement. It stands to reason that bad posture is not something you can fix quickly.
By following the above tips, you can, at the very quickest, expect your posture to be transformed in a few months. However, this is a best case scenario. Most individuals will have to work at improving their posture for at least half a year before seeing any real results.
Posture correction is an ongoing process which occurs differently for everyone who undertakes it. You should go into it knowing that it’s a marathon, and not a sprint.