Our Educational Content is Not Meant or Intended for Medical Advice or Treatment
The average American sits for about 13 hours every single day. During those hours, many develop a bad posture. When you neglect your posture over long periods of time, your back begins to hunch over, and you can develop some severe pain, stiffness, discomfort, and even some serious health problems. Unfortunately, most people don't know the real reason behind bad posture or the right techniques to fix your posture. But don't worry, you're in the right place. I have some tips and a simple exercise you can use to help fix your posture in no time.
In this article:-
- What is Posture?
- What Causes Poor Posture?
- Side Effects of Bad Posture
- Why Most Posture Exercises don’t Work?
- The Best Poor Posture Exercise
What is Posture?
Posture is the position in which you hold your body. This applies to when you're sitting and when you're standing. If your back, shoulders, and neck are upright when you sit and stand, this is considered good or healthy posture. As an example, young children tend to have a good posture. Their back has an 'S' curve, and their movements are fluid and effortless. This is because bad habits and aging haven't had time to affect their posture.
Bad posture is also referred to as a slouch. If your back, shoulders, or neck are hunched or slouched, this can cause many issues throughout your body. The longer that your posture is poor, the worse the effects can be. We'll talk more about these issues in a moment.
The most important thing is that, in many cases, you can fix your bad posture. Of course, it can take some time to fix. However, I have an incredible posture exercise you can use at home to help fix your posture as quickly as possible.
What Causes Poor Posture?
Many things can cause bad posture. The most common thing that causes postural issues is muscle fatigue and weakness. When you sit for too long, your back muscles become fatigued, and you begin to slouch your back. Over time, this causes worse and worse posture. It's no surprise that those who work at desks for the majority of the day tend to develop postural issues and back or neck pain.
Old injuries and aging can also cause posture problems. If you damage a muscle in your back, shoulders, neck, or abdomen, you may develop postural issues over time. Genetics and disease are other factors that can affect your spine and cause an unhealthy posture.
Side Effects of Bad Posture
Many people don't like the appearance of bad posture—it can make you appear less confident and strong. However, postural problems actually have a huge impact on your overall health. This is especially true if you have poor posture for years and years. Over time, bad posture puts excess stress on the body. In fact, for every inch that your head moves forward in posture, your neck and upper back take on an extra 10 pounds of pressure. If your head moves forward just three inches, it's like resting three watermelons on your upper back. It's essential that you fix bad posture as soon as possible to prevent excessive stress on the body.
Here are five ways that posture can affect your health.
1. Posture Affects Digestive Health
When you sit in an office chair and slouch for the entire workday, you can develop certain types of digestive problems. When you have good posture, your abdominal organs have plenty of room. However, if your posture is bad, your abdominal organs become compressed. This can cause a lot of stress to organs that are essential to digestion. Over time, this can cause problems with your metabolism and your ability to digest food properly.
2. Posture Affects Cardiovascular Health
When your posture is poor, it can cause changes in the alignment of your spine. Misalignment can lead to your blood vessels constricting and cause clots or deep vein thrombosis. This greatly increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease unless you fix your posture and have your spine realigned.
3. Posture Affects Spine Health
When your posture is poor, you can develop issues with your spine. Your spine can become misaligned, and your spinal discs can deteriorate. This causes serious chronic pain and stiffness all the way from your low back to your neck and shoulders.
4. Posture Affects Your Nerves
Your nerves transmit pain and other feelings to your brain. When your posture is off, your bones in your spine and shoulders can shift around until they make contact with your surrounding nerves. This can lead to nerve pinching. Pinched nerves can cause pain and discomfort not only in your back but also in other areas of your body that seem entirely unrelated.
5. Posture Affects Your Joints
When your posture is off, more stress is put on your joints. This can lead to arthritis in your knees and cause a lot of pain. The longer you have bad posture, the more risk you have of causing damage to your joints. Redeveloping a good posture is essential for helping relieve the stress put on your knees and improving chronic knee pain.
Why Most Posture Exercises Don't Work
When you were a kid, did your parents ever told you to sit up tall or straighten up your back when you were slouching? This is thought to help with good posture, but it's actually bad advice. Straightening your back simply doesn't work in most cases. Exercises that have you squeeze your shoulder blades together won't help you develop good posture, either.
Why? Well, the first thing you should know is that you have two sets of muscles that control your posture. There are muscles on the front side of your body and muscles on the backside of your body. When you straighten up your spine by leaning back, the muscles on your upper back tighten up, and the muscles on the front side of your body loosen up. When leaning forward, the opposite happens. The muscles on your front side—including your chest and core muscles—tighten up, and your back muscles loosen up.
If you're slouched or have a hunched upper back, it means that the muscles on the front side of your body are too tight, which rounds your spine. When you stretch these muscles, they tend to rebound or snap right back like a rubber band. It's not necessarily bad to stretch your front muscles. It just may not have much of an effect on your posture.
Your posture will benefit the most if you stretch your back muscles by hunching your back even more. So instead of trying to sit up straight, you should slouch your back as much as possible. I have a simple exercise that will help.
The Best Poor Posture Exercise
If you want a good posture, this is the absolute best exercise you can do. You can do this extremely simple exercise at home, at work, or even at the park. This technique follows my opposite muscle rule. You always want to stretch the opposite muscle of the one that is causing problems.
Here's how it works: slouch your back even more. Instead of trying to force your back to straighten up, hunch your back over as far as you can. Then, when you sit up straight, it will feel far more effortless and natural.
Let me break down this exercise for you:
Step 1. Find a chair to sit on. You want to have your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle, and your legs spread apart.
Step 2. Hold your arms out with your elbows straight and resting on the inside of your legs just before your knees—you can clasp your hands, or you can hold one wrist with your opposite hand. Your elbows can be straight or just slightly bent.
Step 3. Slouch your back as much as you possibly can. You should be curving your entire spine from your low back to your mid-back to your neck. Continue to bend down as far as you can between your knees with your elbows mostly straight. If you need to, you can use your hands to stabilize yourself, so you don't fall forward out of your seat.
Step 4. Sit back up in a straight position after a few seconds of hunching your back.
Step 5. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
After about ten times through this exercise, you should notice a much better posture. Your back will feel like it straightens up much more easily and naturally. Many people find that this technique improves their posture almost immediately. However, it may take several weeks of doing this exercise to really see it work if you have a very bad posture.
If you sit at a desk at work, you can do this exercise multiple times a day during your breaks to help improve your posture. If you have neck pain, or pain in your shoulder blades, this exercise can also help with that.
What are you waiting for? Give this poor posture exercise a try and see if it works for you.
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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.