I always stress to my patients the importance of their posture for overall spine health. I am a chiropractor after all! But after reading a recent article by Dr. Steven Weinger, D.C. [author of Stand Taller~Live Longer: An Anti-Aging Strategy], I realized posture impacts more than just your spine. Most people spend hours everyday looking down at their smart devices or sitting behind a computer and it is taking a toll on people's posture and health. Dr. Weinger points out 5 important reasons to improve your posture:
1. You'll have a better outlook on life.
Posture directly affects your mood. When you think of depressed or sad people, they are usually in a slouched position or looking at the ground. Good posture makes you fell more confident and energetic, which in turn makes a happier you!
2. Improve sleep quality.
Did you know sleep apnea is linked directly to forward head posture? When you head goes forward, it can close off your airway and you can't breathe as well. This can lead to excessive snoring and sleep apnea which prevent restful sleeping and more serious health conditions.
3. Set a good example.
Whether or not you have kids, you want to be a positive influence on younger people. With the popularity of cell phones, hand-held gaming devices and tablets, children and adolescents are complaining of neck and mid back pain more frequently at an earlier age. Practicing good postural habits and standing straight is more effective than telling kids, "Don't slouch!"
4. Save money.
Everyone likes to save money (and trips to the doctor!). People who spend most of their day behind a desk compose one of the largest demographics seen by wellness and pain management professionals. Being aware of posture and doing something to change it prevents future pain and injury, giving you more time and money!
5. Standing taller helps you age better as well as live longer!
When posture degenerates with age, the risk of falls, breathing problems and higher blood pressure go up. Working on your posture now will help strengthen core posture muscles and allow for continued good posture as you age.
Tips for improving posture:
- Use an exercise ball at your desk or put a posture support on your chair.
- Posture is important when you sleep as well! Make sure you have a supportive mattress and a pillow that doesn't push the neck too high or forward.
- Get up and move. As we sit in the same position muscles get tired and posture is negatively affected.
- Keep your ears in line with your shoulders.
- Pull back your shoulder blades.
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