21 Jan 3 Long-term effects of poor posture
If you are reading this, you are likely seated at your computer or holding a cell phone in front of you.
Without shifting your posture – take a moment and notice…
- Notice how you are holding your body in space.
- Notice how your weight is being distributed.
- Notice how your shoulders and head are arranged in relation to your torso, and your hips.
Next, take another moment and notice how this arrangement of your body feels.
- Is there compression? Restriction? Discomfort?
- How is your breath?
- How is your energy – your vitality?
- How is your mental clarity? Your emotional state? Your mood?
Finally, take a moment and adjust your posture in a way that intuitively feels both natural and supportive – creating stability with comfort and ease.
What happens when you shift your alignment in this way? Did the breath change? Is there a sense of more space, and less restriction? Was there a shift in your mental and emotional states with that simple adjustment of your posture?
The Posture Epidemic
Poor posture has become a health epidemic – and not just for adults.
Posture is incredibly important for not only how the body feels, but also how it functions. As a yoga therapist, this is one of the primary issues I work on with most of my clients. It is remarkable to witness how issues in the body begin to resolve with improvements in posture.
One of the root causes of poor posture is most certainly our dependence on technology. Computers, tablets, and cellphones help connect us and we are all spending more and more time using them. Unfortunately, this has come at a cost. Sitting at a computer or browsing through a phone is putting many people’s spines at an increased risk of long-term negative health effects.
3 Long-Term Effects of Poor Posture
1. Spine Degeneration and Back Pain
Poor posture contributes to spinal compression and degenerative disc disease. By hunching over, curving the spine and rounding the shoulders in, gradual pressure is placed upon the spine creating compression issues. The problem becomes acute when the pressure is constant. Slouching strains the natural curves of the spine and adds tension that results in back, neck, and shoulder pain. The natural curves of the spine will eventually begin to realign themselves to support a slouched posture if it is maintained regularly, resulting in more compression and discomfort throughout the body.
2. Impaired Breathing
The more you slouch forward, the shorter and tighter your chest muscles become. If they become too tight, they can prevent you from taking deep breaths. Shallow breathing has many health concerns, including the conditioning of the nervous system to remain in a constant state of stress – fight or flight mode. When your body becomes accustomed to shallow breathing and makes it a habit, your body becomes conditioned to relate to stress as a habitual part of life.
2. Poor Circulation and Digestion
A further complication of poor posture and slouching is that it prevents proper circulation and digestion.
As the spine compresses it hinders how much healthy blood reaches the different cells in your body. The reduced blood flow throughout the body makes your heart work harder and can lead to high blood pressure.
Poor posture also puts pressure on your stomach and intestines, which makes it harder for them to properly process and eliminate waste. This slows the digestive process, which can lead to inflammatory discomfort and disease.
These are just a few of the physical affects of poor posture.
Simple Changes for a Healthy Posture
The good news is that once we become aware of our posture and the possible health complications of poor posture, we can consciously choose to intervene.
In part two of this four-part series, I will share with you simple yet meaningful ways to become more mindful of your posture, and practices to strengthen and support your posture for greater health and vitality from within.