Negative effects of bad posture
esince the pandemic has resulted in people everywhere working from home, spending hours at a desk or nestling on the couch with their laptop, postural rumors bad in history appeared then. While the stooped position indefinitely can wreak havoc on your back, physical therapists and personal trainers have used social media to clear up a very common misunderstanding — namely, that there is indeed such a thing as “bad” posture.
What causes posture problems?
If you like slouching or hunched over at your desk, there’s no need to worry. However, what is when you sit that way all day long.
Caitlin Ritt, founder of The Lotus Method, a pre/postnatal specialist, explains: “What makes it ‘bad’ is keeping it for a long time. “That’s what creates permanence in these ‘weak looking’ positions.” And that’s what hurts us. When we spend hours and hours out of alignment, some muscles lose strength while other parts of our body become overstressed.
But a pose that can cause pain if one person holds it too long may not affect another, says Ritt. So it can be difficult to define what “bad” posture is.
How long does it take to be negatively affected by posture?
If you find yourself maintaining a stooped position for hours on end every day, Alo Moves trainer Roxie Jones says that after about two months, your overall posture can suffer, no matter how much you’re sitting. (away from desk/laptop) or get up.
Before the problem becomes serious – or even when the problem is serious – there are ways to minimize the problem. To start, Ritt says pay attention to your body. “If you find that you are experiencing pain in certain positions, listen to that and see if you can try another position that feels better,” she says.
Whatever position you’re in, Jones says it’s important to take breaks, especially if you’re hunched over, hunched over, or looking at your laptop screen with your head down. Maybe move from your couch to the kitchen table for a while, or even the floor for a bit. Elevate your laptop with a computer stand to give your neck a rest. And if you always sit with one leg crossed, try putting the other foot on top (or better yet, try keeping both feet on the ground).
And move! The easiest way to improve your overall posture is to get up and not only walk, but also exercise mobility. Jones suggests doing “the world’s biggest stretch” or some cat-cow stretch. “Our bodies are made to move; The spine has to flex and stretch, so it’s good to do that throughout the day,” she says.
Get moving with this portable stream:
If taking a mid-day break seems too distracting, Jones says prioritizing moving at the beginning and end of the day can also work. If you’re not sure which movement will increase your mobility the most, she recommends taking one of her movement classes (such as Upper Back Stretch, Stretch It Out: Shoulders and Back, or Total Body Pre-Workout Mobility) on the Alo Moves app. “They’re quick and can help you release the stress that’s built up from sitting all day,” she says.
Another way you can reverse the effects of stagnant posture is through strength training. “Our muscles are attached to bones, and the stronger they are, the better they can support posture and stronger movements throughout the day,” explains Jones.
Ritt also suggests focusing on your breathing. “It’s not something many of us think about, but the way we breathe can have a huge impact on our nervous system, overall body mechanics, and even posture,” she explains. “Practicing diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing (instead of chest breathing as many of us do) can help us tap into the parasympathetic nervous system (calm/recovery nervous system), when we tend to live in a parasympathetic (fight or flight) state, and it helps recruit the core.
Why should we pay attention to our posture?
While starting your journey to improve posture can seem daunting at first, Jones says it’s a must if you don’t want to be hunched or stooped in everyday life. “Our bodies prefer to take the path of least resistance,” she says. She explains that we often fall into the positions that we maintain the most and therefore, it takes effort to change the positions of the body.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. “Keep your posture active, keep changing positions, and use posture checks when performing more demanding tasks,” says Ritt.