Early humans spent most of their waking hours engaged in physical activity whether it be walking, running or standing. Today, in most developed countries, 75 percent of people perform work in the sitting position. Not only that, but they often sit on their commutes to and from work and sit while relaxing after work. It’s no surprise that this can lead to a variety of health issues. The most important of all is related to a person’s posture.
Because so much of our waking time is spent sitting our posture is even more important now than it ever was. Living in a gravitational field means that our bodies must always be aligned vertically. If not, certain muscles will have to work twice as hard to keep us upright, resulting in excessive fatigue and discomfort.
Poor posture that is maintained for a long period of time can have particularly dire consequences. The repetitive position “trains” the body’s muscles and tendons to shorten or lengthen and puts stress on bones and joints that molds them into the hunched position permanently. If you are constantly hunched over all day everyday, chances are you will end up looking like the Hunchback of Notre Daime and nobody wants that! Additionally, slouching over reduces your body’s lung capacity by as much as 30 percent! This reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your tissues, including the brain.
But besides the physical and health related issues, poor posture can also have ill effects in the social world. Whether we like it or not, most people are subconsciously in tuned to have a negative reaction to those who slouch. It creates a bad impression for you when applying for a job, starting a relationship or when you’re just trying to make new friends. It can even leave you vulnerable to street crime. A number of years ago, researchers studied the effects of poor posture in relation to street crime. Their findings showed that women who walked sluggishly with eyes looking to the ground, were much more likely to be mugged than women who walked briskly upright and purposely with their head erect.
Improving your posture may sound like an impossible task after years of getting into the habit of poor posture, but make no mistake it is completely worth the effort to make a change! You must make a conscious effort to constantly remind yourself not to slouch, and may even need to incorporate strengthening and flexibility exercises that correct muscular imbalances. However, at the end of the day, reverting your posture back to what its supposed to be will be more rewarding than anything you can imagine.