Why You Have Bad Posture and How To Fix It

Ever catch yourself hunched over your desk? If you’ve been known to slouch, you’ve probably experienced a variety of symptoms associated with slouching without even knowing it.  Poor posture causes many serious problems that most people aren’t even aware of.

Poor posture causes a pain throughout your body. Prolonged slouching has been linked to:

  • severe neck pain
  • back pain
  • migraine headaches.

The intensity of the pain usually depends on the length of time a person exhibits poor posture and can range from mild pain, to intense never-ending pain that can be debilitating.

Other symptoms include:

A study from San Francisco State University shows poor posture can cause:

  • depression
  • lower energy
  • decreased testosterone levels of 7.10%
  • 15% increase in cortisol levels

Cortisol is a hormone that causes your stress level to increase, so having a higher cortisol level than normal means you’re constantly under undue stress as a result of slouching.  Working to improve your posture can result in up to a 20% increase in your testosterone levels and a significant decrease in cortisol, resulting in more energy and less stress.

Think slouching while you stand is the only concern? Think again! Poor posture while sitting has similar effects on your body and can actually shorten your lifespan.  After you reach the age of 25, every hour you spend slouching on the couch while watching TV can shorten your life expectancy by up to 21.8 minutes!  On top of that, those who sit more actually increase their risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 147%!  You also double your risk for developing diabetes, even if you exercise.

How To Fix Poor Posture

AWARENESS
So what can you do to improve your posture?  Well, depending on the length of time you’ve spent slouching, it’s going to take some dedication and hard work.  The most important factor for improving your posture is awareness of your poor posture and the commitment to change it.

DEDICATION
Once you’ve dedicated yourself to improving your posture, you can start the physical process.  The first step is standing up straight.  This might sound simple, but breaking the bad habit of reverting to your relaxed position of slouching is harder than you think.  So keeping it fresh in your mind and remembering to correct yourself when you slouch over is very important.

STRETCHING AND EXERCISING
The next steps involve stretching and exercising.  Stretching is important because as you slouch over, the muscles in your neck and back become very tense and overworked.  They become accustom to being in that position and changing their muscle memory can be difficult.  Regular stretching will help loosen your muscles and relieve the tension and soreness.  Yoga is a great way to work on both stretching and stress relief.  If you prefer not to take yoga classes, you can still use some of the positions and stretches that are common in yoga to get you on the right track.

STRENGTH TRAINING
Along with stretching your muscles, you’ll want to work on strengthening some specific areas.  Your core (abs) and back muscles are the most important muscles for maintaining proper posture.  Without strengthening your core and back muscles, standing upright can make your muscles feel tired and overworked, causing you to revert to your old posture position.  There are many at-home exercises you can do daily to strengthen your muscles, but the important thing is committing to your routine.

DON’T POSTPONE!
Poor posture often worsens over time and won’t improve on its own.  It takes commitment but is more than worth the effort.  Not only will you feel better and look better, you could be avoiding serious life-altering complications down the line.