Why is proper posture so important? Is it for the way you look? Sure, people definitely look better when they fix their posture. But regardless of esthetics, your posture is actually key to how your body functions in more ways than one.
Take muscles for example: when you’re sitting with your head forward, your posterior (back) neck muscle are working way too hard to support your head, while your anterior (front) neck muscles switch off. This leads to muscle imbalances and over time may very well develop into neck pain which can be stemming from degeneration, disc disease, muscle strains and so on.
Now your organs: when your body gets used to a slouching position and makes it a long term problem your intestines get compressed and digestion can become difficult. Poor posture also reduces lung capacity by up to 30%. As you can imagine it can compress the heart and reduce the flow of blood to vital organs thereby making them work less efficient and create disease within them.
Not only does posture affect you physically, it can also be detrimental psychologically. Studies have linked poor posture to increased depression, stress and fatigue.
The overall effect can become global and when those issues persist long term they can take away from your quality of life and even longevity.
“How do I know if I have a possible posture problem?”
Luckily there are 2 tests that you can try at home to see if you have any possible posture problems. All you need is a wall and/or a floor!
The Wall Test
Stand with the back of your head against the wall with your heels 6 inches away from the wall. Your buttocks and shoulder blades should touch the wall.
If you can slide more than 3 fingers behind your neck or the small of your back then it indicates poor posture.
The Floor Angel
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Lower your rib cage so it’s in contact with the floor and your arms are out and bent at the elbow by 90 degree like so:
If your hips, rib cage, head or wrists and arms can’t maintain contact with the floor then this may indicate possible postural issues.
Try these out and see what your posture is like! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to ask your structural chiropractor.