Whenever an ache or pain may occur, there are plenty of things that can be blamed. Maybe you lifted something wrong the day before, maybe it’s an old injury flaring up. Perhaps you slept wrong or exercised too hard without realizing it and forgot to stretch out the soreness. But more often than not, these ongoing issues can be associated with poor posture – leaning and slouching in ways that deteriorate muscle and bone health. By unnaturally bending in the back, and repeatedly, it only makes sense that the body will react unfavorably. And unfortunately, if too much damage has been done, all the sitting up straight in the world can’t completely reverse the issue.
But it’s a start. By being aware of the spine and its natural curvature, you can easily eliminate a number of ailments, including stiff muscles. But that’s not all. Research has shown that, though good posture is a great move for the body, it can bring on an almost infinite number of outside health perks. For instance, better blood and oxygen flow, ease of breathing, and mood enhancements. All without the help of a doctor or ingesting any medicines. Researchers also show that sitting up (especially after slouching for a long period of time) can send an instant rush of adrenaline through the body. This works to improve one’s mood as it’s happening, while long-term posture work will also create better sitting behavior.
Sitting up straight can also:
- Improve digestion speed and efficiency
- Keep you more alert and awake throughout the day
- Allow you to better stay on task and accomplish more – whether at work or at home
- Make you more likely to remember positive memories (while downplaying negative ones)
- Adjust bodily hormones and how they’re produced
- Create a resting environment for the back, neck, and joints that improves their health (while slouching can decrease their functionality even in a resting state)
Whether or not we realize it, slouching can put us in a bad mood and vice versa. Even though it’s often not a conscious decision to “have a better attitude,” straightening the back will cause such a secondary effect. Grumpy days can be improved – sitting or standing – just by reworking the way your body rests. When you’re at your angriest, change up your posture and see just how long it takes to feel better about the unluckiest of days.
Posture vs. How We Interact With Others
There is also much to be said about how our body language sends messages to others. Whether it’s someone you know or a stranger, a slouched back sends the message (usually) that you’re angry or unwilling to talk. In the same way that it’s harder to approach someone with crossed arms, bending and minimalizing the body’s length creates an introverted, unfriendly person. There are certainly several other factors that can be attributed, such as facial expressions, personality, and more. However, posture is perhaps the most interesting and most heavily studied version of what makes people want to talk with others.
The next time you notice yourself slouching, consider the message that you’re creating toward others. Instead, adjust your back, shoulders, and neck and see if there’s a difference in others’ body language. And if there is, it’s likely the change is instant. Just as with the inner changes that comes from a properly aligned spine, how others react come with an automatic change of mood.
Whether you’re looking to improve your posture to combat pains or just know it’s a happy, healthy practice. And bones aren’t the only things to benefit; sitting up straight can bring on a multitude of health perks. Start practicing your better posture plan today.