Why Good Posture Matters

Believe it or not posture is not only important for aesthetics and how we look to others, it’s also vital to the function and maintenance of every body part of your body, from your muscles and your joints all the way to organ health and longevity!

Identifying a postural distortion (and having a plan to correct it) as soon as possible is one of the fastest ways to avoid long-term damage, quickly boost energy, and safeguard your health over your lifetime.

Take a look around.  You won’t need to look far to see people of all ages and even fitness levels with deteriorating posture.

With more videos games, smart devices, sitting in desks, driving in cars and being generally inactive… we’re not helping ourselves to solve these issues.

Experts are beginning to consider postural deviations and the health problems associated with them an epidemic.

DID YOU KNOW POOR POSTURE CAN…

Accelerate depression, stress and consume energy.

In a study with university students, walking in a slouched position decreased energy levels and increased feelings of depression.

A structural distortion puts your body in a state of increased energy consumption… in fact Roger Sperry, Ph.D. won the Nobel Prize for stating “the more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism, and healing.”

Add a few pounds and contribute to digestive disorders.

Chronic slouching positions can constrict your intestines making digestion difficult. This also causes increased pressure on the abdominal wall, protrudes the belly and can make one look heavier than they actually are.

Increased musculoskeletal pain.

It only makes sense that the harder your muscles must work to support your distorted body, the more fatigued, inflamed, and uncomfortable they will become.

How many people with headaches, back pain, shoulder pain or other spine-related conditions are simply experiencing the secondary effects of poor posture?

Restricted breathing.

More than one study has demonstrated that moving the head into a forward direction can reduce lung function.

Constricting the lung’s expansion and contraction also diminishes the amount of oxygen getting to the rest of the body.

Contribute to a shortened lifespan.

It’s hard to say whether this is a “chicken or egg” situation but multiple studies show that (at least in the aging population that was studied) an anterior head position (hyperkyphosis) relates to increased mortality (chance of dying).

WHY IS POSTURE IMPORTANT?

The main reason poor posture is detrimental to the function of the human body is that it can be a sign of a CORE PROBLEM.

A CORE PROBLEM is a problem with one of the body’s central requirements for health.

Poor nutrition, a sleep deficiency, or lackluster exercise habits would all be classified as CORE PROBLEMS.  In each situation, leaving this problem unaddressed could lead to COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

To give a non-health-related example…

If the foundation of your home had a shift that was left unaddressed, over time it could develop into a host of other conditions like damaged drywall, tilted doorframes, and with enough time that CORE PROBLEM could begin to cause more serious issues like electrical or plumbing damage.

Poor posture is evidence of a core problem with your spine and nervous system function.

TRY THESE 3 STEP DIY TESTS TO IDENTIFY POSSIBLE POSTURE PROBLEMS

1. THE MIRROR TEST

Stand facing a full-length mirror and look to determine if:

  • Shoulders are level
  • Head is straight
  • Spaces between your arms and sides are equal
  • Your hips are level and your kneecaps face straight ahead
  • Ankles are straight.

Stand parallel to the mirror and take a photo or have someone else look to determine if:

  • Head is erect and not shifted forward or backwards
  • Chin is parallel to the floor and not tilting up or down
  • Shoulders are in line with your ears and not drooping forward or pulled back
  • Stomach is flat
  • Knees are straight
  • Lower back has a slight forward curve

2. THE WALL TEST

Stand with the back of your head, shoulders and buttocks touching the wall and your heels six inches from the baseboard.

  • Check the distance with your hand between your neck and the wall
  • If your head, shoulders or buttocks cannot touch the wall or if you can slide more than three fingers behind your neck, you may have a postural distortion and there’s a likelihood it is affecting your health in some capacity

3. THE FLOOR ANGEL

Lie on the floor with knees pulled up, feet on the ground, lower rib cage in contact with the floor and arms at 90 degrees in a “stick ‘em up” type position.

The back of your head should maintain contact with the floor and the chins should stay tucked.

A positive test is signified by an inability to maintain any of these normal positions:

  • Hips come off the floor
  • Rib cage comes off the floor
  • Head cannot maintain contact with the floor
  • Wrists and arms cannot maintain contact with the floor

Maybe our grandparents weren’t that crazy when they constantly reminded us to “stand up tall” and “stop slouching”.

Poor posture is a far-reaching condition within the human frame. It affects our health in ways we can see and feel but more importantly, it affects us in ways we could have no idea about.

How’s your posture?

Dr Brian Lanoue is a Life By Design Chiropractor, blogger and speaker on achieving extraordinary health. It is Brian’s passion and mission to empower you, your family and your community to live extraordinary lives. Brian co-owns The Powerhouse Chiropractic in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada with his partner Thea.