The Surprising Benefits of Practicing Good Posture
So what’s the big deal about posture, and why do we need to be conscious of it?
In this post we will discuss 8 benefits of correct posture and a few tips on how you can achieve this!
The benefits are as follows:
- Smoother Digestion
- Prevents Acid Reflux Issues
- You’ll Use More Muscles
- Core Strength Development
- Healthier Spine
- Decreases the Risk of Abnormal Waring of Joints
- Greater Ability to Breathe Deeper
- Positively Influences your State of Mind
Digestion is Smoother
Sitting up straight at the dinner table doesn’t only keep our mothers happy, but it supports the organs of the digestive system to work at their best. Slouching can compress the organs within the abdominal cavity thereby negatively affecting the peristaltic movement of the stomach and intestines – these smooth muscle contractions allow food (bolus) to easily move through the GIT (gastrointestinal tract).
We are told to avoid lying down while eating, but why is this? Its because the acids released into the stomach while eating a meal can be irritating and in some cases harmful if it comes into contact with the oesophagus – a situation known as GER (gastroesophageal reflux). The lower oesophageal sphincter is of course designed to prevent such an event from occurring but under unfavourable conditions, this sphincter can have a hard time keeping stomach contents within the stomach itself. Heartburn is the first symptom of GER which can develop into a chronic condition known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
You’ll use More Muscles
Yes, and this means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day! The major muscle groups involved with correct posture are your upper back and the core muscles. Your core muscles are located deep within your abdomen and back and are attached to your spine and pelvis – 2 components of the skeleton that are responsible for keeping us upright. It’s a simple yet effective way to keep yourself toned and healthy! Core muscles are responsible for coordinating upper and lower body movement so if you feel your core needs to be strengthened, Pilates and Yoga are effective practices you can utilize to tone these muscles.
The natural curvature of the spine is necessary for effective movement and our general wellbeing – remember within the spine lies our spinal cord which is responsible for connecting our nervous system. Always remember a healthy spine is accompanied by strong surrounding spinal and core muscles so never underestimate the importance of sitting straight or working out with the correct form as these practices definitely help in the long and short term. For those of us dealing with back pain, it might be helpful to learn that when the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae are well aligned, it means your back pain will most likely be easier to relieve. A small yet significant change in posture can relieve pain as well!
Decreases the Risk of Abnormal Waring of Joints
Correct posture simply allows your body to move the way it was intended to. When we practice good form, within the gym or within the workplace – we ensure our joints do not take on any unnecessary stress or load. This will then leave us with very little to no chance of straining a joint capsule therefore reducing issues associated with joint pain in old age.
Similar to the first point regarding the organs of the digestive system. When our posture is slouched and our back is hunched over, our lungs aren’t able to expand to their full capacity which leads to decreased oxygen supply to the brain and body. Not a great situation to be in at all! If you work in a busy environment or at a desk, or even if you’re at home doing the chores make sure you take a minute or two to focus on your breathing, as greater oxygen intake will give your cells more energy! Some of the benefits of proper oxygen intake and breathing include but are not limited to:
- Better Sleep
- Better Quality of Life
- Better Metabolism
- Increased Brain Function
Develops Core Strength
The system of muscles within our torso as well as the muscles of our back and pelvis are known as the core muscles – these muscles are responsible for stabilizing the trunk of the body. Two main functions of core muscles include: 1) Protecting the spine from taking on an excessive load and, 2) Transfers force from the lower body to the upper body and vice versa. Some great exercises to strengthen our core muscles include:
- Forward Plank
- Side Plank
- Hip Thrust
- Weighted Carries
Positively Influences Your State of Mind
Psychological Benefits of Good Posture: Embodied cognition is a field of psychological research that explores how the state or movements of the body affects our mind and vice versa. When we are feeling confident after achieving an important goal for example, we are likely to stand tall, push our chest out a little and smile more. This sort of physical reaction informs our brain to release more happy chemicals into our blood stream therefore improving our mood which strengthens our immune system! With this knowledge, we can now appreciate the mind and body are intimately connected, opening up a new world of healing possibilities!
If you are interested in learning more about how you can improve your posture or if you are experiencing musculoskeletal pain that could be related to posture, feel free to contact us via phone 07 3741 2825 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment. Our physiotherapist Joy and principal podiatrist Dr. Kim are passionate about helping you live your best life! We only have one body, so let’s take our health into our own hands and give ourselves the best shot at a wonderful active life!
By Nadia Anand for Foot & Ankle Experts Health Clinic
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