You may have heard this phrase more than once; “Stand up straight, hold your shoulders back.” Improper posture is sometimes considered rude or inappropriate, but were those telling us not to slump aware of the negative health implications of slouching? It turns out, correct posture helps our bodies function properly.

When we slouch, our spine is bending in an unhealthy way. This can negatively affect circulation and may cause our bones to deteriorate over time. Surprisingly, many lifestyle factors either help or hinder our posture. For example, weak muscles, poor lower back support, and even low self-esteem can have a negative impact. That being said, it is never too late to improve your posture!

Evaluate your posture at home with these simple steps: stand with the back of your head against a wall and your heels about six inches from the wall. Your buttocks and shoulder blades should touch the wall. When in this position, the gap between the small of your back and the wall should be less than 2 inches. A larger gap may indicate incorrect posture.

Did You Know?

  • Bad posture is not a sign of laziness.
  • Incorrect posture can cause misalignment in your body, limiting your range of motion.
  • 25% of those with back pain suffer from a herniated disk, often related to poor posture.
  • Stress and genetics play a role in posture.

Tips for Improving Posture

  1. Sit relaxed, with both feet on the floor and head straight.
  2. When standing, engage your core and keep your back and shoulders aligned.
  3. Use a firm mattress and pillows as necessary to minimize spinal curves.
  4. Strengthen your core by partaking in pilates, yoga classes, or lifting weights.

Take a look at this infographic about posture!

Sources: Health.com, Greatist, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.