Poor posture is something that we’ve all been warned of since childhood. Whether the warnings come from a parent, a coach, a teacher, or a doctor, not many of us have gone through life without hearing at least one word of chastisement for slouching. Sometimes, we can feel the negative effects of not sitting up straight. Our backs hurt. Our energy levels go down. And, sometimes, even our memory suffers. Undoubtedly, these are a few reasons why many of us associate poor posture with poor health. However, we don’t often ask what kinds of benefits come with sitting and standing up straight.
So, what benefits are there with good posture? Surprisingly, the benefits of sitting upright extend beyond our physical health. Here are just a few reasons to have better posture.
Less Back Pain
Let’s begin with the obvious. If poor posture increases back pain, good posture will decrease back pain. It’s quite simple when you think about it. However, though it is simple, there is a bit of a science behind it. When we slouch, our anatomical characteristics of our spine are changed. As the spine is bent in a slouching position, our blood vessels and nerves are constricted. Muscles, discs, and joints are damaged. In like manner, when we sit upright, these consequences are reversed.
Many that suffer from back pain feel better as they improve their posture. While it may not eliminate back pain entirely, it will undoubtedly help with discomfort. Sitting up straight allows for blood to flow through your vessels and to your muscles. This is great for your muscles, discs, joints, and nerves around your spine. These factors ultimately lead to a better back, both in regards to your pain and your health.
Improvement With Brain, Memory, And Mood
There is a reason why many employers are furnishing their offices with standing desks. That reason has a lot to do with posture. However, it may not necessarily be purely about the employee’s comfort. Sure, they care about their employees’ back pain. But, good posture can also lead to more productive workers. Memory, attention, focus, and creativity all increase as a result to the brain receiving more oxygen as a result of good posture.
This was found in a study conducted by Indiana University. As researches studied the posture of babies, they noticed that babies with better posture tended to learn and remember words better. It also improved their creativity and adaptability to new experiences. In addition to brain development, researchers also have found that your mood improves with better posture. A good mood always leads to more productive work. A separate study showed that good posture increased energy levels and positive thoughts. Participants in the study reported that feeling more energetic, happier, and positive if they had good posture. However, those with bad posture said they felt sad and lonely.
When many folks imagine what a confident person looks like, the image of someone with good posture comes to mind. This person stands straight with their chest out and a smile on their face. Their posture is their body’s way of telling everyone in the room that they have high self-esteem. Athletes have good posture. Business professionals have good posture. Our stance exudes confidence to others, but what does it do to your own thoughts and feelings? Researchers at Ohio State University would say yes.
Just as posture can have an impact on your mood, it also can impact on your confidence. When you are happier, you are more likely to be more confident in yourself. This is not only shown on your face, but also in your posture. Some experts suggest standing or sitting straight in job interviews not only because it makes you look confident, but you actually are more confident than you would be if you were slouching. Research shows that slouching causes uncertainty and low self-esteem.
You don’t use a lot of energy when you are slumped over. Perhaps that is why such a position is often associated with tiredness. However, it can take a bit of energy to stand upright. In fact, experts suggest that you can burn up to 350 calories a day by standing straight. This is because the blood can flow through veins better. It also helps that you are using your core and back muscles to achieve good posture.
In addition to weight loss, your muscle definition, particularly in your core, should develop. We activate our core by sitting upright as good posture allows the pelvis to take a position that benefits your abdominals. As your abdominals develop, you will be able to do more physical activities, thus shedding weight and adding tone to your stomach.
Lastly, let’s touch on your quality of breath. As more oxygen is able to flow into your airways, your breathing should improve. This is fantastic for your cardiopulmonary system. When you breathe better, your entire body feels the benefits. Organs and other tissues will receive better oxygen, thus improving their quality and functionality.
This quality of breath can improve with good posture. As you do sit up straighter, your airways are better opened. With opened airways, your body receives better oxygen. Many people don’t realize the benefits that come with breathing properly, but it is integral to your entire body that you are breathing with quality. This is how that quality breath and the benefits that come with it can be spread throughout your body.
All in all, good posture really can go a long way in helping your body improve. While many of us may think those benefits to be only for your back, your entire body gets better with proper posture. So, the next time you want to slouch on the couch or slump as you walk, just think about what you are doing to your body. It doesn’t take much effort to sit upright, but the benefits go a long way when it comes to good posture.