With our ever increasingly sedentary lifestyle, along with the amount of time we spend on smart phones, we now have the recipe for what has virtually become a problem of epic proportions. Problems associated with poor posture have now risen to the top as the root cause of the vast majority of patient complaints I see at the office.
Here Is What The Science Says
One of the more compelling studies about posture, demonstrates how posture can have a far reaching effect on your overall health. According to a joint study from Harvard and Colombia, improved posture actually increased the participant's hormone levels, which resulted in decreased cortisol (the stress hormone) and increased testosterone. Other studies have shown good posture to improve your outlook on life, increase energy levels, and reduce physical pain. What is clear is how far reaching the effects of both good and poor posture can be. Now you may be wondering, what good posture looks like.
Perfect Posture Is Not Black And White
There are some aspects of posture that we know for certain are either good or bad. However, there can be a lot of gray area in between. One scientist at LUMOback put it perfectly in saying "the best posture is your next posture". What they are saying is that the best posture is not staying in any one position for very long. We need to keep moving! Every part of the human body was designed for movement, yet many of us sit behind a computer at a desk for 8 hours per day. We then go home and sit some more. Commit to an active lifestyle.
The Smart Phone Slump
Smart Phone use may be the worst culprit for poor posture that is out there. I have well chronicled the damage repeatedly looking down at your phone can do to your spine in previous blog posts. The most important thing I stress to patients is to hold your phone out in front of you when using it in order to minimize the stress on your spine. This can help tremendously given the fact the average American now spends upwards of 5 or more hours per day on their smart phone.
Finally, we can never solve ALL posture problems in our day to day life, but we can actively work to regularly reduce them. Some of you have jobs that require us to sit 8 hours a day, put your body in awkward positions, or even be on the phone for many hours. You need to figure out a strategy that will help minimize its effects on your body. Set time aside for regular stretching, exercise, massage, and of course get your spine checked regularly at the chiropractor. Frequent spinal stress that is not regularly managed will lead to rapid deterioration. Don't wait until it is too late, be proactive in taking care of your body and spine on a regular basis.
A proactive lifestyle of regular care will help you...
LIVE well. BE well.