We all know good posture is important, but how many of us actually remember to focus on it day to day.
According to research, less than half of us are concerned about how it can impact our health.
With so many people in the US suffering from back pain, maybe it’s time we all paid more attention?
It’s not just back pain that it can help too, take a look below at 14 proven benefits of good posture:
1: Improves Your Breathing
One of the most incredible benefits of good posture, has to be the way it can improve your breathing.
It makes sense when you consider that when slouched you’re shortening your abdominal muscles, reducing your ability to breath in fully.
A study in the UK, looked at how seated positions impact professional brass instrument players — a group that needs more oxygen than most!
Through a review of all findings, they concluded that standing up tall can actually increase your oxygen intake by up to 30%.
Interestingly it was also found that a downward sloping seat impacted oxygen levels less than a flat seat.
2: Relieves Chronic Pain
Could better posture help those suffering?
Researchers developed a 12-item Postural Awareness Scale (PAS) to make patients more aware of their body and its position.
By encouraging patients to be more mindful of their posture over an extended period, they found it could reduce pain specifically in the spine and shoulders.
Yoga was also highlighted in the research, as being one of the most beneficial ways to improve your posture.
3: Boosts Self-Confidence
Struggling with low self-esteem?
Good posture can give you a confidence boost!
Psychologists during a study at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, looked at how dominant body postures could make children feel more confident at school.
108 fourth graders practiced ‘power poses’, which are expansive postures that encourage you to take up more physical space with your body, such as stretching out your limbs.
Amazingly, children demonstrated higher power feelings and more positive student-teacher relationships were reported.
Watch psychologist Amy Cuddy demonstrate a number of power poses, and explain how they can help:
4: Reduces Headaches and Migraines
If you suffer from recurrent headaches or migraines, then you know how debilitating they can be.
Poor posture can actually increase the frequency of migraines.
They recommend developing a recovery pose that you can adopt to release tension when you can feel a headache or migraine coming on.
Getting a great night’s sleep is also highlighted by the foundation.
Adopting a side sleeping position and using pillows to support your head and neck effectively is suggested, to practice good posture even while you sleep.
5: Eases Depressive Symptoms
Experts state that slumped posture can be a feature of depression.
Researchers at The University of Auckland wanted to understand how adopting an upright position could improve self-esteem and mood.
They recruited 61 participants with mild to moderate depression, who sat in either a usual or upright position while completing a speech test.
Not only did the upright group speak significantly more during the test, they also experienced lower levels of anxiety
6: Relieves Back Pain
A summary of research by Harvard Medical School, highlights the dramatic impact poor posture can have on your back.
They make this powerful statement:
Good posture not only protects you against back pain, it also improves your overall health and appearance. Poor posture, on the other hand, promotes back pain and can affect the position and function of your abdominal organs.
They offer a number of tips to maintain good posture, such as exercising regularly, sleeping on a firm and comfortable mattress, and preventing the muscle fatigue that can come from staying in one position for too long.
Watch physical therapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck demonstrate how to practice perfect posture when seated, to decrease back and neck pain:
7: Reduces Stress
48% of Americans report having increased stress in their life over the past five years.
This has led the American Psychological Association to declare it a National Mental Health Crisis.
Posture might seem like an unlikely strategy to reduce stress, but research shows it does work.
Another project conducted at The University of Auckland, found sitting upright to be a ‘simple behavioral strategy to help build resilience to stress’.
74 participants had their heart rate and use of language monitored while they completed a reading and speech task.
Slumped participants used more negative emotion words, while upright participants demonstrated more arousal, better mood and less fear.
8: Aids Digestion
When you’re suffering with poor digestion, your natural reaction might be to closely monitor the food that you’re eating.
However, did you know that your posture can have an impact on your digestion?
Effective digestion relies on good blood flow to your gut. If you’re positioning your body in a way that impairs that flow then it will slow down your ability to digest food properly.
Sitting up properly can help your body process food, and also make you less gassy and bloated!
9: Builds Core Strength
Core strength and good posture go hand in hand.
Good posture builds core strength. Building core strength leads to better posture.
When we take a look at the research, we can see that correct posture increases abdominal muscle activity, helping to developing a stronger core.
It also eases the pressure on your back muscles, building stability in your torso.
10: Boosts Energy Levels
We could all do with a little energy boost now and then.
Practicing good posture could be just what we need.
Erik Peper, a lecturer at San Fransisco State University, ran a small study to see how sitting up straight impacted on energy levels.
He ran classroom exercise routines which significantly increased the energy levels of participants.
Results also showed that they expressed more positive thoughts and found it easier to recall memories.
Peper actually concluded that you should ‘fake it until you make it’. Sit upright when you’re exhausted and you’ll trick your mind into thinking you have the energy to keep going!
It’s worth mentioning that this was a small project, yet it serves as another reminder to walk tall and sit up straight.
11: Eases Neck Pain
On average, Americans can spend nearly six hours a day looking at their smartphone or other digital device.
This has led to a huge increase in what doctors refer to as, ‘tech neck’.
Tech neck is when your head and neck are extended too far over your body, which has been linked to an increased chance of experiencing neck pain.
If you use a digital device regularly (who doesn’t!), practicing good posture can help relieve neck pain.
There are a number of tips you can follow, including raising your device to eye level so your head isn’t tilted forward, and taking frequent breaks.
12: Improves Sporting Performance
The American Chiropractic Association reminds us that good posture requires the use of more muscle groups.
This means that you’re reducing the chance of straining a single muscle.
It also means that you’re able to improve your overall sporting performance, as your muscles work more efficiently.
When you need support with correcting your posture then visiting a chiropractor can help.
13: Improves Sleep
Remembering to adopt a good posture isn’t just important during the day, it can have benefits while you’re sleeping, too.
By following simple guidance you can improve your sleep, and reduce disturbances that can come from chronic pain.
Renowned chiropractor, The Chiro Guy explains that:
Keeping head pillows to a minimum, avoiding sleeping on your stomach and adopting side sleeping, can reduce the chance of experiencing back and neck pain.
Yoga before bed can also be a great way to improve your sleep, with a number of specific poses helping you nod off faster.
14: Reduces Abnormal Wearing of Joints
The wearing of our bones and joints is inevitable as we get older.
However we can slow down the wear and tear of our joints by maintaining a good posture.
If we slouch and generally adopt a poor seated position, then the surfaces of our joints can start to wear abnormally.
By sitting upright and aligning our body in the right way, we can ensure that our muscles are used correctly.
Now you know how important it is to practice good posture, where do you start?
Well, we know that yoga can help with maintaining correct posture, so why not take a look at a few poses for beginners?