Think about your natural sitting position. Are you hunched over a desk or sitting on one foot while crossing the other? Now think about what a candid photo of you standing at a party would look like. Full Hunchback of Notre Dame? Bad posture happens—and is actually incredibly common. But can you correct posture? You sure can.
First, a quick explanation. Posture is the position in which we hold our bodies while standing, sitting or lying down. Good posture is the correct alignment of body parts supported by the right amount of muscle tension against gravity.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, good posture:
- Helps us keep bones and joints in correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
- Reduces the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together, minimizing the likelihood of injury.
- Allows muscles to work more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue.
- Helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.
- Can make you happier. According to a study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, patients with mild to moderate depression felt more alert (and less anxious) after simply keeping their back and shoulders upright while sitting. Another study published in the journal Biofeedback found that participants who slouched while walking felt more depressed. When they shifted to a more upright position, their energy levels increased.