“What causes illness and disease?” When asked this question, many of us reply with the most common answers:
Lack of exercise
Each of these are indeed causes of illness and disease, and there many medications available to treat these ailments. However, there are things we do inadvertently that cause disease as well. Two such things that cause disease are slouching and poor posture.
Do you have poor posture? Some of us may not realize we do. Here are the top signs:
- Rounded shoulders
Bent knees when standing or walking
Body aches and pains
Your head leans forward or backward
Some of us can recognize these symptoms in ourselves, or we know someone who does. What people may not know is these symptoms can start a chain reaction that leads to major health issues:
Slouching and poor posture can constrict the internal organs, and has been linked to constipation, acid reflux and other digestive issues.
An Australian study claims that for those aged 25 and older, every hour they spent slouching in front of the television decreased their lifespan by 22 minutes.
In another study, researchers claim slouching and poor posture for long periods of time increases a person’s risk of diabetes, heart disease and death by 112%, 147% and 90% respectively.
Now ask yourself how many people are taking medicine to alleviate ailments that could be caused by years of slouching and poor posture? How many of us knew (or believe) constipation could be caused by poor posture? Or the risk of diabetes is increased because of slouching? If poor posture is indeed the cause of a person’s acid reflux, no amount of medication will get rid of it permanently if a person doesn’t improve their posture.
This is why it’s important to get to the cause of the medical issue and not just treat the symptoms.
How to Improve Your Posture Naturally
Here are some of the easiest ways to correct poor posture:
1. Be mindful of how you sit. If we lean forward or sit too far forward, we put too much pressure on our pubic bones. If we sit too far back, we put extra pressure on our tailbones. To alleviate this, lean back in the chair with your back flush against the chair for support.
If you keep forgetting to sit properly, set an alarm every hour reminding you to sit straight in the chair.
Here is a comfortable back support cushion for your chair:
2. Stretch! Have a good stretch every time you get up. This can be done when you’re at work, at home watching television or when you get out of your car. When you stand extend your arms over your head up towards the ceiling, with a long inhale and long exhale. That one move can deliver oxygen throughout your body and have you feeling refreshed.
3. Even the load. Be mindful of how you carry things. For example, large purses, backpacks, and luggage can all cause poor posture and muscle imbalances if we’re not careful. Make an effort to balance the weight around as much as possible to keep the strain off the muscles and joints. This will help keep your body straight when you walk. If this is difficult to do, (such as when carrying a large purse,) alternate sides when carrying it to minimize strain and muscle imbalances.
4. Strengthen your core. A weak core can pull your body out of alignment, thus affecting your posture. Exercises such as planks are great ways to strengthen the core and a great step towards improving posture.
Here are a few great exercises for the core:
5. Increase flexibility. A lack of flexibility can cause muscle imbalances and poor posture. For example, too much sitting can cause muscle imbalances in the glutes, legs and hamstrings. Yoga and Pilates are great ways to fix muscle imbalances and strengthen the entire body.
Sometimes, the smallest changes can make the biggest differences. Work on correcting your posture today. Your body will thank you!
In order to become the best you can be, you must change your mindset. No one can do it for you, you must want it for yourself. Get more great tips in my award winning book The 3 Pillars of Strength: Increasing Your Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Fitness, and my book The Diet of Success: Healthy Eating Tips for Hard Working Professionals. Both available on Kindle, Audible, and paperback: