5 Reasons to Consider Your Posture
Your posture impacts more than just your spine – it has a ripple effect on your entire life! Look around, and you’ll find most people with their heads down looking at their smart devices – surfing the web, texting, reading Facebook, checking email – and according to posture and anti-aging expert, Dr. Steven Weiniger, your tech-addiction is not just taking its toll on your posture, but it’s also hurting your health!
Here are 5 reasons to work on improving your posture:
1. You’ll have a better outlook on life. Posture directly affects your mood. “Studies have shown that people’s attitudes about their lives directly correlate to their posture,” says Weiniger. When you think of someone who is sad, are they standing tall, or are they looking at the ground? A good posture makes you feel more confident and energetic, which in turn make you a happier you!
2. Improve sleep quality. Did you know that sleep apnea is directly linked to forward head posture? Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing while they sleep for more than 5 instances per hour, which impacts wakefulness during the day and can cause more serious problems, including risk of brain damage and even death.
“When your head goes forward, that closes off your airway and you can’t breathe as well,” says Weiniger. In addition to working actively on posture while you’re awake, changing your sleep habits make a big difference. Weiniger suggests investing in a supportive mattress and pillows that support the neck and don’t push it too high and forward. Also, sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs for added hip support will help make for a more restful sleep.
3. Set a good example. Whether or not you have kids of your own, you want to be a positive influence on younger people. Practicing good postural habits and standing straight is more effective than telling kids, “Don’t slouch!”
Dr. Weiniger stresses that this generation of youth is the most vulnerable group to developing hunched posture and its connected health issues. “Younger people are especially at risk, because when you train a younger body to be folded over, the muscles and bones are growing with that flexed-forward posture. And the more forward the posture is, the more body has to work harder to do a seemingly simple thing of standing up straight.”
4. Save money (and trips to the doctor!). Desk-bound workers compose one of the largest demographics seen by wellness and pain management professionals. Many in the prime of their lives succumb to back ache, neck pain, and muscle tension that comes from their 9-5 office job.
Dr. Weiniger recommends taking a look at your work environment and making small changes that will help relieve pain on the job. “Change your sitting and standing habits. Use an exercise ball at your desk, or put a posture support on your office chair. I personally like BackJoy or a foam wedge.”
Being aware of posture and doing something to change it prevents future pain and injury, giving you more time and money to enjoy a happy, active life.
5. Standing taller helps you to age better – and live longer! Imagine what you want to look like when you’re 80 – bet that person isn’t hunched over and moving around with a walker! When posture degenerates with age, the risk for falls, breathing problems and higher blood pressure goes up.
“Literally, there’s an increased risk of dying sooner!” warns Dr. Weiniger.