Posture: 5 Reasons to Keep Slouching
1. You like having neck, upper back, lower back, and shoulder pain.
If these areas seem to bother you every week, there's a good chance your posture looks like the girl on the left:
Here's the anatomical breakdown of poor posture:
Back of the neck, upper back: painful, overstretched muscles. Feeling "knots" or tightness between the shoulders
Chest: muscles become shortened and tight. Body caters to the "easier" position by staying in this semi-fetal position, the cycle continues.
Front of neck: weak, inhibited muscles can't hold your head up as easy - your body is designed to hold your head in-line with your shoulders, not in front of it!
Lower back: increased pressure on lumbar spine attempting to adapt to less than ideal alignment of the spine. Read: lower back pain!
Check out this article discussing a possible link between modern day evolution and poor posture:
2. You want to increase your risk of joint issues.
Over the course of months and years with poor body alignment, your body will suffer from increased wear & tear on joints. Your spine is meant to have uniform spacing between the vertebrae, cushioned by the discs. If your neck droops forward, this changes the spacing between the vertebrae and can cause a multitude of problems over time: arthritis, disc degeneration, nerve damage, chronic pain, to name a few.
3. Tingling, numb hands and fingers is your idea of a good time.
Poor alignment of your neck and shoulders can lead to impingement (bone pressing against a nerve) or entrapment (soft tissue pressing against a nerve). Related conditions include: thoracic outlet syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, labral tear of the shoulder, headaches, jaw pain, disc herniation.
4. Your goals include looking like the old lady leaning over the grocery cart in retirement.
Over time, your body takes the path of least resistance and has a general tendency to resume the fetal position we were born in. To avoid looking like a hunchback, exercise regularly, practice good posture daily, and try these exercises if you spend most of your day in a chair:
5. You don't want an instant way to look 10 lbs lighter.
Scroll back up to the first photo of the good/bad posture comparison. It's the same girl, but one looks fatter and less confident, right? Women, how many times have you gotten frustrated by that impossible "pooch" you can't seem to lose...? It could be simply your poor posture... either way, standing up straight will instantly make you look and feel better.
In addition to the exercises listed above, it may be helpful to use a posture corrector (such as Trueweo or BackEmbrace) or kinesio tape to help your body adapt to healthy posture. Instead of actively obsessing over your posture and telling yourself 100x a day to straighten up, it can help helpful to give your body a stead "cue" to stay in the correct posture. Keep in mind that while your body is learning the "correct" posture, you may experience some muscular soreness.