Back in the 1950s, kids were constantly hounded to “sit up straight” and eventually they learned. Since then, we have developed epidemic numbers of slouchers. Our modern lifestyle is to blame, including being sedentary, developing “text neck” from bending the head forward to use a computer or smartphone, and most of all, not realizing the importance of good posture.
Here are seven reasons why you should care about your posture:
1. Poor posture ages you inside and out
Looking at a silhouette of a person hunched over from poor posture, you would assume that person is elderly. When your head is forward and your back is slumped, your ribcage loses flexibility and you don’t breathe as deeply. Without enough oxygen intake, free radicals multiply in the body and cause cell damage and death. Over decades, poor posture results in premature aging, appearing as wrinkles, loose skin, stiff joints, and organ dysfunction.
2. Poor posture increases your risk for injury
The lack of normal spinal alignment affects biomechanics in three ways:
- Your centre of gravity shifts, throwing off your balance.
- Scar tissue accumulates, reducing flexibility.
- Nerves get pinched and irritated, impairing coordination, agility, and reflex time.
The end result is that it’s easier to trip and fall, harder to get out of harm’s way, and more likely that a more severe injury will be sustained.
3. Poor posture affects your energy level and state of mind
Oxygen is a vital component of metabolism (carbohydrate + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water + energy). Low oxygen causes low energy, fatigue, and slow metabolism. Reduced oxygen to the brain negatively affects concentration, memory, logic, and perspective. People with poor posture easily get stressed, frustrated, and worn out.
4. Poor posture can cause osteoarthritis and osteoporosis
Chronic poor posture does not exist without chronic misalignment or “subluxation” of spinal joints and/or joints of the extremities. Subluxated joints, like misaligned axles in cars, wear down over time and wear out faster with greater use. In the spine, degeneration appears as bone spurs (osteoarthritis). Eventually, calcium stores in the bones become depleted as bone spurs grow, causing localized osteopenia (low bone density) and even osteoporosis.
5. Poor posture isn’t pretty
It sounds shallow, but it’s not. What might start as self-consciousness (or rebellion) during puberty can lead to near-permanent disfigurement in adulthood. Who really wants a dowager’s hump, sagging breasts, and a pot belly? Good posture helps a person appear taller, slimmer, and younger.
6. Poor posture negatively affects whole body health
The nervous system controls every organ, tissue, and cell function and helps them adapt to changes in environment and to changing internal needs. (ie. increasing stomach acid to digest food; hormone spike for ovulation, rising blood pressure during exercise). For the brain to communicate with the body, nerves travel through the spine to get to the end organs and back again. Subluxations can interfere with the nerve flow. People with poor posture get sick more easily, take longer to recover, and are more prone to having sluggish circulation, digestive problems, and even infertility.
7. Poor posture can be changed
Do you want to be healthier, stronger, taller, and younger looking? You can start by exchanging bad habits for a healthier lifestyle, like exercising, diet, ergonomics, and rest. A chiropractor can advise on good lifestyle choices as well as assess for subluxations in the spine which may be hampering your progress. Chiropractors are uniquely trained to assess posture and underlying spinal injuries and make corrective changes to spinal subluxations in a non-invasive manner.
Most people know of chiropractic for short-term care of acute musculoskeletal injuries (neck and back pain), but the same principles, applied over a longer period of time, can set the conditions for reversing osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, improving nerve flow and organ function, and increasing energy, productivity, and athletic prowess. It may take months to improve years’ worth of damage, and years to stop decades’ of damage, but if this is a priority to you and your health, chiropractic corrective care is the answer.
Sabrina Chen-See is a pediatric and family wellness chiropractor based in Vancouver. She is a firm believer in making positive contributions to society, and regularly volunteers her time and chiropractic skills for community and charitable events. Website: www.DrChenSee.com. Phone: (604) 566 9088.