Standing and sitting are such instinctive processes that many people have no idea that they're doing them wrong -- or why they're suffering from various not-so-coincidental problems affecting their quality of life. Here are four ways maintaining correct posture can help you maintain a happier, healthier lifestyle.
1. Relief from Chronic Pain
Many of the people who visit chiropractors are seeking relief from chronic aches, pains and stiffness. While a painful back or neck can stem from an acute incident such as an auto accident injury, it can also be a sign of a longstanding posture problem. If you slump over your keyboard at work, for instance, your head may droop forward, straining your neck and shoulder muscles. A tendency to favor one leg when standing or walking may transfer too much of your weight to one side of your body, causing chronic muscle stiffness and joint pain.
Correcting these posture issues can relieve pain that has snuck up on you so slowly over months or years that you've accepted it as "normal." You might need to strengthen the core muscles that support your spine, change your office setup, work with your head in a neutral position, and/or undergo spinal adjustments to nudge your spine back into proper alignment -- but the resulting freedom from discomfort will make it all worthwhile.
2. Improved Physical Function
If you're prone to frequent colds, digestive problems, allergies, hormonal swings and other health disruptions, you might think that you're just a naturally sickly person -- when in fact your posture could be to blame. Chronic slouching can put pressure on the spinal nerve roots that feed signals to all the nerves in your body. This pressure causes nerve signals to misfire, sending incomplete or faulty instructions to your various physical systems. As a result, you may experience hormonal dysfunction, impaired organ function, and weakened immune response.
Get a spinal screening to see whether your posture might be inhibiting your general wellness. If a problem is found, and you take the necessary steps to correct it, you may experience dramatic improvements in your overall health. This will not only help you feel better and be more productive, but also it could save you big money in medical bills going forward.
3. Clearer Thinking
Do you suffer from "brain fog" or a short attention span? Believe it or not, your posture can affect your ability to think clearly. One of the primary reasons for this phenomenon is oxygen deprivation. When you hunch forward, your limit your lungs' capacity to take in air, which in turn makes less oxygen available for your brain. As noted above, poor posture can also alter hormone function. This can cause your body to produce excess cortisol, a stress hormone that can impair your ability to stay calm and think rationally. Last but not least, posture-related muscle strain can cause pain and stiffness, distracting you from the tasks at hand.
When you clear up your posture problems, you also clear your head. Freeing your body from discomfort and excess stress allows you to focus your mind more clearly, while the boost of oxygen you receive can help banish "brain fog" symptoms.
4. Greater Charisma
If you've been evaluating your current degree of personal and professional success, don't forget to evaluate your posture as well. Public speakers and powerful people have long known that an upright posture projects confidence, trustworthiness, optimism and vitality -- all important factors in charisma and attractiveness. Good posture also boosts your self-image. Studies have indicated that a tall, expansive posture gives people a feeling of power and control, regardless of their actual job title.
Check your profile in a full-length mirror. If your upper back slumps backward (swayback), your shoulders appear rounded, or if your head hunches forward, you may need to get some advice from a chiropractor or other personal trainer on how to straighten up. Spinal adjustments, exercises, and other simple steps can often make a visible difference in your posture -- and in the charisma you project.
It's amazing how many of the issues that affect human health and well being are related to spinal alignment. Do whatever's needed to get your body straightened out, and watch your quality of life improve accordingly!