As a child, you heard someone whether your mom or a schoolteacher say those infamous words: “Sit up straight! Stop slouching!” Well, there’s a whole month dedicated to helping you be mindful of your posture. Well, this month on the Divinely Preserved Healer blog, we are bringing awareness to how we sit and how poor posture ultimately affects our quality of life.
Formed by the Foundation of Chiropractic Progress, in 1959, May was declared as Correct Your Posture Month. Its intent is “to shed light on the importance of the posture of the human body and to increase awareness regarding practices we can follow to improve our postures.” (NationalToday.com). In other words, “a good or bad posture can have a great impact on our quality of life and can also lead to certain painful health conditions such as persistent upper- and lower-back pain.”
What is Bad Posture?
Posture is defined as “the position of your body when you’re standing or sitting. It describes how your spine is aligned with your head, shoulders, and hips.” (Healthline.com) Bad posture is simply “posture that’s out of alignment.” The key is how long does one remain that way. before they begin to notice these signs and other identifiers of poor posture:
- muscle or joint straining
- neck, head, or back pain
- rounded shoulders
- injury in activities – work, exercising…
- labored or shallow breathing
- amplify other mental conditions
- affects your self-esteem
It would be foolish of us not to mention that there are medical conditions that contribute to misaligned posture, such as Parkinson’s Disease. As a matter of fact, Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder resulting in “damage to the nerves in the area of the brain that is responsible for controlling muscle tension and movement” per The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Michale Murray and Joseph Pizzorno (2012). However, this post is aimed at those who could sit up but don’t either because they are tuned in to a computer screen, smartphone, or TV, that they don’t realize their posture until the pain arrives.
It should be pointed out that posture errors aren’t limited to adults, children are also affected. As a 2017 study of Poland children and adolescents: Incorrect body posture results in “the reduction in cardio-respiratory efficiency, decreased vital capacity of the lungs, degenerative bone and low back pains, as well as the displacement of the internal organs are just some of the consequences of untreated incorrect body posture.” (source) So, the earlier you adopt good posture, the better you’re overall health as you age.
Posture & Self-Esteem
Whether we know it or not, our posture sends a signal to the subconscious mind that we are tired, overwhelmed, overburdened, which affects our ability to sit up let alone get up. Think about when someone is overcome with grief – they bend over or curl up in a fetal position, which is an indicator of their emotional state. Yet, Murray (2012) explains: “One of the keys to gaining more energy in your body is to assume a more energetic posture. It sends a message to the subconscious that you are energized and ready to go…When you have low energy levels, you tend to hold your body in a tight posture with your head slightly down and shoulders slouched.” But it takes awareness of when we are allowing our emotions to get the best of us!
Three Ways to Improve Your Posture
Per PostureMonth.org, here are three ways to ACE your posture:
AWARENESS: It starts with being conscious awareness. Instead of waiting until the pain kicks in, set an intention to check in with your body regularly to see if you are slouching whether your are at your desk, driving, or elsewhere. Consider taking this challenge with a friend so you can hold each other accountable.
CONTROL: Do you force yourself to endure pain when exercising? Well, you might be causing harm to your back, spines and muscles. Well posture is important even during exercising. Prevent unnecessary injury by being mindful of your posture when workouts. At the gym and you’re not sure – ask the gym’s staff, your physical coach or yoga instructor how you can stay safe.
ENVIRONMENT: Do you have the tools to proper back support? From the office chair to your shoes to even your mattress. Assess your environment to see if there is anything needs to be correct to help you straighten up!
For more ideas and tips, please visit posturemonth.org.