“Sit up straight! Don’t Slouch!” I’m sure we all have heard this from our mothers and especially our nonna's in an Italian household, as children. Most of us rolled our eyes and continued to hunch over. Little did we know that there was a reason behind her madness. Mom knows best!
We tend to think of poor posture as mostly a visually cosmetic problem - slumped shoulders, hunched backs, and tilted neck as being an unflattering external issue. However, recent research is telling us that a much more dangerous concern that lies beneath the surface. In a study published in the Archives of internal Medicine, they followed 4,000 men for 20 years and monitored their posture and evaluated health risks in relationship to poor posture. Men who received the greatest posture deviations and height loss of the 20 year period experienced a 64% higher risk of developing coronary artery disease!!
This is huge! Especially in spinal health! Remember, if there is excess pressure on nerve tissue (or any tissue for that matter), will that tissue get stronger or weaker? What will happen to the tissue that that nerve is supplying?
The heart was directly influenced by poor posture because of the relationship between posture, the spine and the nervous system. Your pain may be way more then just neck or back pain.
Here are 5 more reasons correcting posture will improve your HEALTH:
Stand tall, press your shoulders back, bring that chest up and keep your head high. It’s no doubt that people perceive good posture as stronger, more confident individuals. Would you take exercise advise from a personal trainer who was slumped over and tired looking? Of course not. Proper posture makes you look slimmer, younger and portrays confidence.
2. Breathing Becomes Easier and Deeper
Remember how in the doctor’s office, she asked you to sit up straight before taking a deep breath in with her stethoscope on your chest? With a proper upright torso, our diaphragm is better able to contract allowing a fuller breath and ultimately an increase in absorption of oxygen. This may helps us feel less tired, better concentration and able to accomplish more. Try it yourself - hunch forward and squeeze your tummy and see how much more difficult it is to take a breath in.
3. Improved Circulation and Digestion
The average adult has anywhere from 25-35 feet of intestines in their abdomen. Do you think this system works better or worse in a crunched over, forward, compressed position? Of course not. Our body’s are meant to lengthened and upright to allow our heart to properly distribute blood throughout our body and our digestive system to absorb nutrients from our diet.
4. Helps your Muscles and Joints
There are 360 joints and over 600 muscles in the human body. We are destroying the normal use of many of these through our sedentary life and chronic repetitive movements (which hand do you use for your computer mouse?). The spine is by far taking the brunt of this and can be related back to so many other issues like shoulder and knee pain. Correcting posture allows muscles and joints to work more efficiently allowing the body to use less energy and avoid muscle fatigue.
5. Healthy Spine
Remember that our spine is the armour of our master control system. Our spines are in a state of crisis with things like osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, degenerative join disease, herniating discs, bulging discs on the rise. An accumulation of poor posture habits and unhealthy daily activities is the forefront of this epidemic.
Posture is the gateway to understanding stress in our body and nervous system. Who is taking care of your spine and posture?
Dr. Alfredo is an health enthusiast who’s goal is to help people and families live healthier, happier lives. My philosophy on health is simple - our body’s have the amazing ability and potential to self-adapt, self-regulate and THRIVE in this world.