Your Mother Was Right: Good Posture is Important
In these times of intently staring down into laptops, mobile phones and electronic devices, many of us have become a generation of slouchers, slumpers and hunchers. And, although our mothers may all be waving their fingers in disappointment, we might roll our eyes and shrug it off with hunched shoulders. After all, what harm could we really be doing to ourselves anyway?
Turns out – quite a bit more than you might think. Poor posture can be responsible for many negative physical and even emotional effects on the body. Becoming more self-aware of how we sit, stand and move may help reduce pain, increase health and even improve our moods.
You may have started slouching as a somewhat sullen and angsty teenager, attempting to shrink yourself from the view of parents and teachers. Slouching feels a bit rebellious too – especially after a comment about posture from your mother.
You continued your slumping while studying through college and into a fairly sedentary lifestyle behind a computer – working long hours staring into a screen at a desk creates an opportunity to slouch that becomes increasingly tempting.
Now, you’re a full-time, bonafide sloucher. Other than giving you the physical appearance of a hunched back, what havoc is it wreaking on your body?
Hazards of Hunching
Headaches – As you slouch your head over a desk or table and lean into your computer by just two inches, you are adding 20 extra pounds of pressure on your spine. That forces your neck and back muscles to work harder to hold up the extra weight, which can lead to headaches and shoulder strain.
Jaw pain – A misaligned spine causes stress to your jaw joints and creates additional muscle pains in the back of your head.
Internal organ issues – When your spine is misaligned, it can affect your ribcage, damaging your lungs and heart and eventually causing gastrointestinal issues.
Stop the Slump
As bad as slouching is for your body, there’s good news. No matter your age, poor posture can be reversible – if you make it a priority.
Stay alert at your desk – Working over your computer for long periods of time – as many of us must do – puts you at the highest risk of succumbing to poor posture. Make sure your seat is properly aligned with your desk. Sit with both feet on the floor, with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees. Roll your shoulders back and down, so you feel your shoulder blades move down your back.
Check your stance – When standing and walking, your ears, shouleers, hips and ankles should all be in a vertical line. Keep your feet hip-width apart with toes pointed forward. Your spine should be erect with your shoulders pulled back and down, and your chin raised. Check yourself out in a mirror to be sure you’re staying straight!
Yoga classes or similar kinds of exercise can help improve flexibility and muscle tone that lead to better posture. Correcting poor posture can help you breathe easier, improve circulation and digestion, make you look slimmer and younger and improve your level of confidence!
Learning to sit up straight is a worthwhile exercise that we know your mother will agree with!
With locations in Alexandria, VA and Washington DC, DC Smiles provides a holistic approach to dental care that incorporates total-body health and wellness. Learn more at DCSmiles.com.
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