You may not realize it, but your posture is vital to your overall health. This is true both in the short-term and the long-term.
Whether you’re sleeping, standing, or sitting, your posture matters, and can have a huge effect on the way that you feel. For this reason, you need to do everything in your power to assume proper posture.
Failure to assume proper posture can result in a number of long-term health problems, some of which are physical and some of which are psychological. Read on to discover everything there is to know about the long-term effects of bad posture.
Long-term Effects of Bad Posture
Bad posture affects both physical and psychological health, and it does so in a number of different ways. Not only are the ligaments and muscles vulnerable to the effects of bad posture, but the organs as well. Below are the long-term effects of bad posture.
Chronic Back Pain
The most common long-term effect of bad posture is chronic back pain. Bad posture causes undue stress to be put on the lower back, doing damage to everything from the muscles, to the joints, to the ligaments. Over time, as this stress is applied, it leaves more and more of an impact on the back.
Once chronic back pain presents itself, it can be extremely difficult to cure. This is why you need to do everything in your power to prevent its presence in the first place.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Bad posture doesn’t only affect the back. In fact, affects just about every part of the body that you could ever imagine. You might be surprised to hear that bad posture can actually contribute toward carpal tunnel syndrome.
When the shoulders sag, the wrists turn in directions that they aren’t supposed to turn, taking on undue stress. Though carpal tunnel doesn’t typically come as a result of only bad posture, bad posture can surely increase the chances of it occurring.
Not only does bad posture affect your muscles, ligaments, and bones, but your internal organs as well. Your digestive organs, in particular, can suffer immeasurably from being exposed to your bad posture.
When bad posture is practiced, the internal organs are essentially mashed together. Being mashed together for prolonged periods of time prevents them from receiving adequate blood flow, impairing the digestion process. An impaired digestive system can cause bloating, constipation, and nutrient deficiencies.
Though bad posture might not necessarily cause depression, it has been found to be correlated with it. In a study, it was found that those who demonstrated slouched and poor posture were more likely to experience poor moods.
It’s not known whether or not good posture can ease the effects of depression, but those with better moods are more likely to exhibit good posture. In any case, it wouldn’t hurt to practice good posture.
Restricted Blood Circulation
Good blood circulation is important for a number of reasons. Those who suffer from poor circulation experience numbness, fatigue, skin issues, and increased hair loss, to name just a few issues. For this reason, you want your circulation to be at its optimal levels.
Unfortunately, bad posture can wreak havoc on your blood circulation. This is because it causes muscles and organs to compress, restricting blood vessels, and impeding the flow of blood.
What is Considered to Be Bad Posture?
In order to avoid bad posture in the future, you need to know exactly what it is. There is no one habit or stature which can be called bad posture. However, most people who suffer from bad posture typically have one of the following problems.
A Stiff Back
Do you have a tendency to straighten up the lower part of your back when you’re standing? If so, your posture is not good posture. Your spine has a natural curve in it, and when you straighten up this part of the back, you are disturbing that curve.
Disturbing said curve puts a great deal of stress on the back, and can cause chronic pain or injury somewhere down the line.
A Jutting Behind
Stand up in front of a mirror so that you’re looking at the side of your body. Do you notice that your butt juts out behind the rest of your body? If so, you are not practicing proper posture.
A jutting posterior typically occurs because the back is overarched. Overarching of the back is generally an overcompensation mechanism for those who are already attempting to practice good posture. If you do this, you need to focus on reducing the arch.
In a great many cases, shoulder rolling occurs because the back muscles are not properly strengthened to hold the shoulders up as they should be held.
The most commonly made posture mistake is to roll the shoulders. Rolled shoulders occur when the shoulders sink down and into the middle of the chest. Shoulder rolling is often accompanied by a sunken head which faces down toward the ground.
Avoid Long-term Effects By Correcting Your Posture
After the long-term effects of bad posture have set in, they can be difficult to manage. Instead of trying to manage them after they’ve set in, it’s better to avoid them all together. If you start correcting your posture now, you can stave off these long-term effects. Follow the tips below, and begin correcting your posture.
Utilize Proper Sitting Form
Humans spend a large portion of their lives sitting. Unfortunately, in the midst of this sitting, many humans demonstrate very poor posture. Leaning forward with their backs hunched over, they place a great deal of strain not only on their backs, but their internal organs as well.
If you’re going to correct your posture, you’re going to have to correct your sitting posture. To practice good sitting posture, it’s important that you resist the urge to hunch over. If you’re sitting at a desk, make sure to position your computer monitor so that it’s level with your eyes. This will ensure that your shoulders remain back, and your back remains relatively straight.
Keep Yourself Loose
If you’re not already stretching on a regular basis, you should begin to as soon as possible. In order to practice good posture, it’s vital that your muscles remain loose and fluid. Tight muscles not only limit your range of motion, they’re susceptible to injury as well.
When stretching, you want to target all muscles. However, when attempting to correct your posture, the muscles you especially need to prioritize are the core and leg muscles. Completing these stretches at least once a day can work wonders for your posture.
Prioritize Your Core
Perhaps nothing improves a person’s posture more than core exercises. The body’s core is its structural center, and is responsible for holding everything in its proper place.
By doing sit-ups, deadlifts, squats, crunches, planks, and other core-heavy exercises on the regular, you will be providing your body with a stronger structural center. This will allow for you to achieve proper posture with greater ease.
Try a Posture Correction Device
In addition to engaging in regular exercise and stretching, you might also benefit utilizing a posture correction device. Posture correction devices place pressure on the appropriate parts of the torso, assisting in the development of proper posture.
These devices come as belts, vests, and other types of clothing, and can be typically worn under your clothes. They essentially help to improve your posture without requiring that you put forth any effort.
What Does it All Mean?
The fact of the matter is that, if you practice poor posture for a prolonged period of time, you will start to feel its negative, long-term effects. These effects are painful in both a physical and psychological sense, and can serve to make your life miserable.
The best way to fight these ill effects is by avoiding them entirely in the first place. How do you do this? By correcting your posture as soon as possible.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools and exercises which can help you to do this. By putting a posture correction plan into place now, you can avoid a lot of agony in the future.