Is bad posture any more than just that?  Is there a good reason for nagging our kids (and being nagged by our loved ones) ?  You’re damn right there is!    It’s not just back pain that poor posture causes.  Bad posture comes with a host of risks attached…

Depression

Being slumped or slouched has been shown to lower mood and levels of energy.  This instinctively makes sense; if you want to feel positive and be happy, stand tall!

Pain

Researchers in North America found that more dominant postures increase the pain threshold (the point at which you first feel pain).  So, rather than curl up into a ball, it’s best to stand up as tall as you can, which in turn makes you feel more in control of your pain.  It doesn’t seem unreasonable to extrapolate this to daily postures – slumping not only leads to mechanical strains which will cause more pain in the long term; it will likely also lower your pain threshold!

Constipation

A poor, slumped posture causes your abdominal contents to be folded in on top of themselves which slows down the passage of food, which in turn can cause feelings of bloating (as the food takes longer to pass through, there will be a build up of gases – nice…).

Bad for job prospects

Having bad posture (which suggests depressed introvert!) decreases your desirability in the eyes of potential employers.

Lack of confidence

It works both ways – a slumped posture is often indicative of someone lacking in confidence; but standing up taller also helps to generate increased confidence.   If you need to have a difficult conversation with someone and would benefit from being more assertive, then stand or sit up tall before starting.  It’s the same advice if you want to be happier – try smiling more!

Stress

A poor slumped posture has been linked with shallow “chest-breathing” (rather than more relaxed abdominal breathing); this in turn is related to chronically raised levels of adrenalin (the fear/flight/fight hormone).  If your adrenalin levels are chronically raised you’re likely to suffer all the effects of adrenal burnout – tiredness, lowered immunity, high blood pressure, agitated mood etc.

Life Shortening

There have been some studies demonstrating a link between poor posture and high blood pressure (which ultimately predisposes to early death!).  Being chronically stressed is related to shorter life span too.

 

So, if you don’t want to suffer constipation, have more pain, be depressed, stressed-out, lack confidence, struggle to get a job, and die early – try  standing and sitting up tall.   Or book in for a postural assessment – the benefits could be truly life-changing!

If you’ve got 20 minutes, watch the fantastic TED talk from Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy on the subject Your body language shapes who you are.