You eat healthy food, you don’t smoke, you exercise and sleep 8 hours a night.
Yet, for some reason, something doesn’t feel right as you’re tired all the time and your energy levels are low. The culprit may be your bad posture. It’s so easy to get carried away with your work and fail to notice that you spend hours hunched over your desk. Here’s how this seemingly insignificant detail can affect your overall health and well-being. Of course, seeing your physician and getting your blood tests done is necessary in order to rule out some more serious health issues.
In a Career Slump
Slumped posture can negatively affect your career. People tend to perceive those who slouch as less confident and even less competent. Slouching gives the impression that you feel uncomfortable or that you don’t fit in. It might communicate a completely wrong message, for example, that you’re lacking ambition. On the other hand, if you stand or sit up straight, you’ll seem taller which will give you an ego boost. Empower yourself simply by standing up straight with your shoulders back and hold your head high. In order to improve your posture long-term, you need to strengthen your core muscles.
Breaking Down Bad
Bad posture compresses the stomach, which means that your intestines will fold over each other. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that this, in turn, leads to heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. If you suffer from any of those problems, it’s a good idea to move around after eating. A brisk walk would improve your digestion and speed up the metabolism. Again, strengthening your core muscles can immensely help with musculoskeletal balance and fixing bad posture. Experts say that yoga and Pilates are highly effective for resolving these issues. If you don’t have time to go to physical therapy there are apps like Physits that can help you find a therapist who can come to your place and help you out.
Uncross Your Legs
Bad posture is responsible for decreased blood flow to and from the heart. This can have numerous side effects, one of which is high blood pressure. Hypertension damages blood vessels and is subsequently one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes. Poor circulation means that your brain (as well as other vital organs) doesn’t get enough oxygen. Although many people still believe that the jury is still out on the effects of crossed legs, a recent research study proves them wrong by concluding that crossing the leg at the knee can significantly increase blood pressure. Apart from that, poor posture affects the diaphragm’s abilities to expand, thus leading to shallow breathing. By improving your posture you can improve your lung function as well as blood flow.
Down in the Dumps
If you’re feeling down and sad, maybe your bad posture is to blame. People with a humpback posture are more prone to a bad mood, depression, and fear. This is in line with the fact that if the body is in a seated position for a long time all bodily functions slow down due to the poor circulation. The brain receives less oxygen, which makes you feel dizzy and drowsy. Poor posture puts a great deal of stress on your internal organs, and this will definitely resurface in the form of depression and low energy levels. Proper breathing is highly underestimated, although it is essential for supplying the body with oxygen. Breathing exercises can be the first step towards relaxation and improving your mood.
Is That Belly Fat?
That’s what people think when they see someone slouching around. In other words, your poor posture makes you look fatter than you actually are. If you’re slouching in your chair, your internal organs are pushed out. They consequently stretch the abdominal wall, and if this happens often, muscles tend to lengthen thus relaxing your waistline. In other words, you can actually reduce your waist size simply by strengthening your core muscles without having to lose any fat at all (although it would be recommendable to do so).
In a Vicious Circle
We’ve already established that slouching is a consequence of stress and depression, but it also causes them. According to a study conducted at Harvard, striking a power pose with your chin tilted upward and your hands on your hips can reduce stress, anxiety, and levels of cortisol, while it will increase feelings of power, dominance, and levels of testosterone. In other words, as one of the researchers behind this study, Amy Cuddy, says “fake it until you make it”. At first, you’ll need to mimic power postures and in time, you’ll actually start to feel better and more confident.
It doesn’t take much to improve your posture, and the results of that change can be truly astonishing.