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We’ve probably all been told to “stand up straight” or to “stop slouching”, at some point in our lives.
What most of us may not realise however, is how damaging a bad posture can be not only to our physical health but in many other aspects of our mental health and wellbeing, and even more so as we age.
It’s also a habit we tend to fall into at an early age, which makes it even more important to remedy as quickly as possible. That said, it’s never too late to start.
Unfortunately, modern lifestyles are becoming increasingly sedentary, whether that’s through the use of transport instead of walking, or sitting at desks or computers for long periods of time, or binging for hours on Netflix, or gaming and social media, or most likely, all of the above to some degree.
But all these factors, mean that our postural muscles are being used less and less, which means they tire more easily when they are used. That in turn makes it harder to maintain a good posture when you are standing or sitting, so you slump, slouch more or lean on walls, tables or bus stops when standing.
Think about it when you next catch yourself standing around.
The relationship you have with your postural muscles may have flickered out over time but the end result is that poor posture puts your body at risk for spinal wear and tear and chronic pain, aswell as other conditions.
Not only that, having poor posture can affect your health in many ways, some of which may surprise you. While the obvious consequences are the deterioration of your neck and spine and associated ligaments, muscles and tendons, the less obvious consequences are headaches, decreased flexibility, loss of mobility, nerve entrapment, poor balance (potentially leading to falls), bad digestion, difficulty breathing, reduced energy levels, and even negative self-esteem.
It’s surprising how widely the impact of poor posture can stretch across your entire body.
The good news is that bad posture is just a habit we’ve got into, and as we know, habits can be broken. Musculoskeletal practitioners like physical therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and massage therapists can all help by giving you specific exercises to help you strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight ones, thereby improving your posture.
Getting that perfect spine isn’t always achievable or a quick fix, but small changes to daily routine, becoming more body conscious and performing exercises a couple of days a week will go a long way to helping improve your posture, reduce the risk of injury and prevent pain. We’ve put together a range of resources to help you firstly identify what type of posture you’re likely to have, and then some stretching and strengthening exercises that will help you to start to correct that posture.
There are also some additional advice leaflets and infographics giving guidance on the correct set up of your workstation and how to reduce your risk of getting into poor postural habits. Some of these are downloadable below, and some will be shared on our social media channels in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
As usual, if you have any concerns or questions, please feel free to get in contact with us. We’re here to help.