What poor posture is doing to your mental and physical health

As you’re reading this, we’d bet good money you’re slouched over a desk or phone. That’s not a criticism – it’s just a sad fact of modern life.

With the mention of slouching, you might immediately have adjusted your posture – but how long will that last? Our lives are becoming increasingly sedentary, which makes it harder for us to keep our backs straight all the time.

Unfortunately, maintaining good posture is easier said than done. Other than looking good, why do we actually need to to work so hard to keep our backs straight? We asked physiotherapist Anj Periyasamy how poor posture can impact your mental and physical health – and it might be the nudge you need to work a bit harder on your back.

It can lead to physical issues

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Let’s talk about POSTURE! 👤 . We all know that poor posture can contribute to a myriad of of injuries and chronic pain conditions. However, have you ever thought about about the impact it can have on your confidence and self-esteem? Correct posture not only looks and feels better, but can also have a positive effect on the way you present yourself to the world. These are just some of my favourite posture strengthening exercises (excluding rows and face pulls because I didn’t have a pole 😅) that you can try at home, in the office or at the gym. . ➡️ Behind head theraband pull-downs ➡️ Chest/shoulder lifts ➡️ Shoulder external rotations . Also remember that holding good posture is a habit that needs to be trained. We need to maintain consciousness on how we are holding ourselves and being careful not to revert back to slouching if we really want to make a change. Tag a friend who needs to work on their posture to remind them! 👇🏼😉 . Sets:1-3 Reps: 10-20 Frequency: 3x weekly (minimum) . Wearing @physiofitco 🤸🏼‍♂️

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The most obvious problem with poor posture is the impact on your neck and back. The modern culture of desk jobs or staring down at your phone has resulted in a widespread condition dubbed ‘tech neck’.

“Today people are sitting for long periods of time and this can cause hip, neck cardiac and back problems,” Periyasamy explains. “It’s important to move with purpose – to get up every 20 minutes and either stretch, walk up and down the stairs, or if you can’t move, swing your legs or just stand up. People in offices send emails to the person a few desks away, why not get up and talk to them?”

Poor posture means your neck is leaning forward, so your head is in front of the shoulders instead of directly above them. This can put stress on the delicate cervical spine (the neck), because it has to support more weight. The result is neck pain and stiffness, problems which will worsen the longer you stay hunched over.

Other than making sure you move about regularly, Periyasamy also advises you take a look at the ergonomics of your work station. This means adjusting your chair, desk and computer height so you’re not constantly leaning over and potentially injuring yourself.

“There are also various exercises and things people can do like yoga and Pilates – any concerns, or if you need advice, check with a physiotherapist,” Periyasamy adds. “Fixing poor posture takes work, but with some adjustments and retraining, you can reap the endless benefits which will improve overall physical and mental wellbeing.”

As well as other health-related problems

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Deskbound much? . Here are 3 moves you can do for your spine straight from you desk - this will do wonders for a stiff, achy neck & back ... so you feel like this guy / gal:🕺💃🏽 . 1️⃣ Seated cat / cow. 📝 ➖Hug yourself. ➖Round your back and tuck your hips. ➖Arch your back and tilt your tailbone up (Also think about driving the belly button forward). . 2️⃣ T-spins rotations. 📝 ➖Arm straight in front of you. ➖Opposite arm grabs your rib cage. ➖Reach forward with the straight arm while turning through the opposite shoulder trying to look back as far as you can. ➖Return to start position and repeat. . 3️⃣ Neck Circles. ➖Grab your seat / bench and press down so that your shoulder blades depress away from your ears. ➖Imagine a pen extending from your chin - draw the biggest circle you can with it: ➖Tuck the chin and look down. ➖Look over your shoulder (rotate). ➖Side bend (ear to shoulder) ➖Look up to the ceiling. ➖Look over opposite shoulder. ➖Return back go centre. . Save this routine - tag a friend and give your spine some much needed movement when you find yourself sitting for long periods of time - you’ll feel 💯. ______ #jackhanrahanfitness 'Smarter training. Superior results' _____ #trainsmart #movebetter #mobility #mobilitytraining #liftersneedmobility #frc #kinstretch #healthyjoints #longevity #functionaltraining #strengthcoach #fitnesscoach #hybridathlete #movementprep #controlyourself @kinstretch @functionalrangeconditioning #everydamnday #selfcare #mobilityflow #posture #deskbound

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While the physical effects of your posture are quite obvious, Periyasamy warns of other things you might not have considered.

“It can also impact on lung function, heart health and cause gastrointestinal pain, to name a few,” she says.

When you look at it, these issues make sense. Take gastrointestinal pain – if you’re slumped over all the time, your organs are effectively bunching up, making it harder for food to be digested properly (particularly if you wolf down your lunch al desko). The same goes for lung and heart health – your body isn’t built to be hunched over, and your internal processes will run a whole lot more smoothly if you’re sitting properly.

Because your muscles have been working overtime to support your head (which is heavy, by the way), you can fatigue more quickly and might begin to feel tired during the day.

It can make you feel unhappy

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Don’t underestimate the connection between the physical and mental. “Good posture actually increases the endorphins in the body which makes us feel better, and being upright increases a reduction in cortisol – the stress hormone,” Periyasamy says. “The positioning of our body is important as it needs to be elongated so brain chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin can flow freely.”

If you’re having a bad day, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to slump over in an effort to hide from the world. However, this might actually make you feel worse – if you try sitting up straight, it might actually boost your mood. “A study published in Health Psychology reveals that people who slump are more phlegmatic, gloomy, and sad compared to those who sit, or stand up, straight,” says Periyasamy.

It can impact your confidence

Particularly if you’re at work, good posture can do your confidence the world of good and help you excel at your job.

“Sitting upright can make you feel more alert and enthusiastic, feel less fearful, and have higher self-esteem after a stressful task,” explains Periyasamy.

“One way to improve your posture and confidence is to stand for two minutes in front of the mirror with your hands on your hips and looking tall.”

- Press Association

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