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The Straight Facts About Posture

July 4th, 2023

Your parents were right…

Eat your spinach. Don’t run with scissors. Don’t sit too close to the TV. And stand up straight.

While the first three are usually said in jest, that last one is no joking matter.

In fact, having good posture is essential for good health. Whether you’re standing, sitting, even lying down…your posture is worth your attention.

What Constitutes Good Posture?

Posture (whether good or bad) has to do with body alignment. In short, having good posture means that your bones, muscles, and ligaments are oriented to properly support the weight of your body. This means that your spine is maintaining its natural curves, and your weight is balanced such that stress and strain are minimized.

The Benefits of Good Posture

The specific health benefits related to good posture are numerous:


  1. Fewer Musculoskeletal Issues
    Good posture helps to prevent and relieve musculoskeletal problems.
    Specifically, keeping your spine properly aligned reduces neck, shoulder, back, and hip strain, takes pressure off of your joints, and relieves muscle tension.


  1. Better Breathing and Circulation
    Sitting or standing up straight gives your lungs more room to expand. This makes it easier for your lungs to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, while at the same time improving circulation.


  1. Improved Digestion
    You may not think of posture as being related to digestion, but it is.
    Your digestive organs are compressed if you’re slouched or bent over while eating, which makes your digestive system operate less efficiently. The result can be bloating and indigestion.


  1. Enhanced Mood and Energy
    Research has shown that people who slouch have a tendency toward lethargy, a more depressed mood, and anxiety. Conversely, people who stand up straight will tend toward being happier and more energetic.


  1. Fewer Headaches
    Tension headaches and migraines can be caused by poor posture, especially as it relates to your head, neck, and shoulders; so proper spinal alignment can reduce the potential for headaches caused by muscle tension.
  1. Better Spinal Health
    Good posture distributes your weight evenly along your spine and protects your spinal cord. This helps to protect your spinal disks from wear and tear and preserves spinal health overall.


  1. More Confidence
    If you want to feel and appear more confident, stand tall. Research indicates that people with good posture project more self-confidence and also inspire confidence in the people around them.

Don’t believe us? Check out the book “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” by Amy Cuddy and read about her “power poses”.

How to Maintain Good Posture

Fortunately, good posture can be maintained and if necessary restored. Here are some suggestions for standing straight and tall:

  • Be Aware
    Check your posture in the mirror. Do your shoulders slump? Do you tend to slouch when you sit down or when you’re in front of a computer? How is your head positioned over your shoulders?
    Good posture starts with paying attention to how you sit, stand, and even lie down.
  • Pay Attention to Ergonomics
    Are your home and your office designed to support good posture?
    It’s important to invest in a good, supportive office chair and to make sure your computer monitor is at eye level.
  • Get Regular Exercise
    You need muscles that are healthy and strong to support your skeletal system, and that means regular resistance training. This can be weightlifting, using resistance bands, or using your own body weight. And exercise modalities like yoga and Pilates are great for targeting your core and back muscles.

A word of caution, though: good form is essential for all of the above. When resistance exercises are performed incorrectly, you can do more harm than good. If you’re unsure, work with a personal trainer.

  • Take Work Breaks
    Nothing can aggravate your back and neck like sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. If you sit a lot for work, take frequent breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around for a few minutes.
  • Your Mattress Matters
    You spend 7-8 hours in bed each night. Those hours should be spent on a high quality, supportive mattress. Do your research and find what will work best for you. Also, make sure your pillow and your mattress work well together to keep your spine properly aligned while you’re sleeping.

Posture is Important

Bad posture doesn’t have to be permanent, but chronic posture issues (if not addressed) can lead to longer term health problems. So…if your posture is less than ideal, don’t put off improving it.

Exercise. Pay attention to the ergonomics in your home and at work. And keep good posture front of mind as you go through your day.

Want to learn about improving your long-term health? Call Renew Youth at 800-859-7511 or use our convenient contact form to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.


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