29 Apr Will Scudder, strength and conditioning expert with posture up shares with us 3 reasons why you should pay attention to how you sit
How are you reading this right now? Look at the picture on the left, are your head and chest held high, are your shoulders pinned back and your core engaged? Or are you, as most of us will be, slightly slouched with your head and shoulders forward?
For many of us, the coronavirus pandemic means a lot more time spent at home, perhaps even working from home. This means that we spend the majority of our day in what is to our bodies, an unnatural position. And as we are stuck inside, we are also moving less than normal.
There have been many studies conducted over the years on how our posture effects more than just how we look. Mentally and physically the effects are profound. Here are 3 reasons why:
Poor posture leads to back and neck pain:
A study in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases found that nearly 1 in 10 people on the planet suffer from low back pain. In the Western world this number can be even greater, it is THE number 1 cause of disability under the age of 45 in the US1.
How does our posture affect back pain? To put it simply, as an animal we are not designed to sit on a chair for 8,10,12 hours a day or more. We drive to work, sit at our desk, drive home, then often relax and enjoy our dinner on the sofa.
We are meant to rest in a deep squat position, if you see a toddler pick something up off the floor they will squat down to get it, dropping their hips below their knees, rather than bending over like an adult will do. This is because it is the natural position for a human. They haven’t been taught bad habits.
Sitting with our shoulders forward and our legs out in front causes our spine to curve unnaturally, as well as disengaging important core and pelvic muscles that over time become weak. It is this combination of improper positioning causing tight muscles, and other important muscles growing weak that contribute to back, shoulder and neck pain.
Poor posture stops your brain from working efficiently
How can posture effect our thinking? As we hunch forward to type on our keyboard, move our mouse or check that text, we curve our upper back forward. This causes a reduction in space inside our bodies, blocking our lungs from fully expanding, and reducing the amount of oxygen we can take in with each breath.
Dr Rene Cailliet, former director of the University of Southern California’s Department of physical medicine and Rehabilitation states that; “Lung capacity can be reduced by as much as 30%, leading to clouded thinking and vascular disease”.
Our brains need oxygen to function, this 30% reduction in intake has a noticeable effect, much like blocking a car engine from getting adequate fuel.
Poor posture changes how others view you
We are social animals, and as such we have built in subconscious observations on the people around us. As our society has evolved our brains and bodies have been lagging behind. This means people will subconsciously associate poor posture with either illness or weakness.
Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of California studied face to face interactions as well as online interactions. Their results found that those with poorer posture (rounded shoulders, head forward), were viewed as less open, less confident and even less attractive.
There is also an effect on how we feel about ourselves, but that is a topic for another article.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in how our posture not only effects our health, but our mental state and social interactions as well. It’s important we look after our own well-being through improving our posture.
So how do you correct this? As a coach with Posture Up, we work tirelessly to build simple and effective exercise routines to help improve posture in a corporate or home environment, improving well-being for employees and employers alike. I will explain in a future post, simple exercises that can have a massive benefit on your health and well-being. But for now, sit up straight, tense your abdominals and pull your shoulder blades back and down!
If you or your business are interested in improving your own, employees or group well-being through posture, and would like more blogs and informative videos on this, please follow our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/postureupglobal/, visit our website: www.postureup.co.uk or email us: Info@postureup.co.uk
1 – American Social security administration
Posture Up work with your employees to reduce sick leave, improve productivity and mental well-being by correcting poor posture. This boosts overall performance and benefits your business. A bespoke programme built to your needs can take place in the office or be tailored for home working.