Did you know....it's estimated the average person sits up to 13 hours a day?
Driving, keyboarding, reaching, looking at our cell phones — you name it, we round our shoulders doing it, diminishing our posture along the way!.
You probably don’t notice it right away. It might creep up after you’ve been sitting at your desk for hours, chipping away at your daily to-dos. Or perhaps it’s when you’ve been carrying your backpack on one side or taking calls by squeezing your phone between your shoulder and ear.
Whatever the reason, sooner or later it hits you: Your shoulders are scrunched, your neck hurts, and your muscles feel tight.
Here are some other ways our work habits may contributes to poor posture that negatively effect our health...
1. Lung Capacity
.When you slouch forward, your diaphragm can’t work at its full capacity to expand your chest and lungs as you breathe in. Over time, this reduced lung capacity can lead you to become tired more easily and prevent you from performing physical activities as effectively. Standing up straight, on the other hand, will help you use your lungs to their full potential.
2. Neck and Back Problems
Constantly slouching forward puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your back and neck. Looking down at your cell phone, for example, can put as much as 60 additional pounds of pressure on your neck, which can lead to neck problems and chronic pain. Poor posture can also lead to lower back pain and even cause anatomical changes to your spine. To avoid neck and back problems, practice good posture.
3. Muscle Fatigue
When you’re not properly aligned and balanced, your muscles are not working as they should; some will end up getting overused and some will get underutilized. This means that your muscles may be overworked to make up for deficiencies or lack of use elsewhere, and they will get fatigued more quickly.
4. Avoiding Wear and Tear on Your Joints
Joints wear out naturally over time, but bad posture may cause abnormal or uneven wearing of joints, which can contribute to osteoarthritis or joint pain. Joints can even be reshaped permanently over years of bad posture. Standing and sitting straight, on the other hand, helps distribute wear and tear on your joints evenly and prevents long-term damage.
5. Poor Sleep
Deficient posture can put your entire system of muscles in a compromising position. If you are unable to fully relax your body at night, you may find yourself tossing and turning to find a comfortable position for your neck and back, which can lead to hours of lost sleep.
6. Disrupted Digestion
If you have an office job that requires you to stay at a desk most of the day, sitting with bad posture can lead to digestive issues. Neglecting to pay attention to your posture can compress your organs, which can slow the digestive process and cause stomach issues.
How Can Pilates Help Improve Posture?
People with neck and low back pain or headaches can work to improve their posture with Pilates to correct the issues causing this discomfort. Pilates can help to decrease pain and help strengthen weak, imbalanced muscles. Once the muscles are stronger, you can begin to work on improving the range of motion your joints can move through.
I also like to educate my clients with self-management techniques to reduce the chance of injury reoccurrence. In this case, proper sitting, standing and core engagement techniques as well as stretching and strengthening.
If you have poor posture, check out the classes and workshops at the Behan Protocol to help you carry yourself with ease and confidence!