Has anyone ever told you to stand up straight? Have you ever been scolded while eating at the dinner table because of a simple slouching posture? Comments like that can be very annoying especially when coming from a Nigerian mother. Some mothers like mine would attach to the command, an unexpected slap on the forming hunch.
The truth is that no matter how vexing the reminder to sit or stand straight may be, it is the best advice. Your posture, the way you hold your body when you are sitting or standing is the base for every movement your body makes and can determine how your body adapts to stress like carrying a heavy load, sitting in an awkward position, or gravity pull. A poor posture can cause some of your muscles to be over tightened and some others lose and inhibited, which may now need you to add more pressure to your muscles to keep balance.
Over time, these defective muscle adaptations will reduce your body’s ability to withstand the forces on it. Your ligaments and joints will experience more wear and tear, thereby creating a large room for dislocation in the aftermath of a very minor accident or increasing the probability of joint pain in old and young people too.
Joint and muscle defects are not the only repercussions of a bad posture, there is a long list of them but they can be coined into the few below:
1. Poor circulation:
Earlier, I mentioned that some of your muscles while trying to adapt to the stress get tighter. The tightness of the muscles may cause your arteries to be compressed. Compressed arteries can lead to high blood pressure as the heart will automatically pump harder to correct the reduced blood flow.
2. Poor lung performance:
Chronic bad posture may affect your breathing. The more you slouch forward, the more your chest muscles press on your lungs. They become tighter and shorter over time and may prevent you from taking deep breaths. More pressure will be exerted on your diaphragm making it difficult to expand. Without a good amount of oxygen, your internal organs will not function maximally.
3. Deformed spine:
A healthy spine has 3 curves, one at your neck, one at your shoulder, and the other at your lower back. Some people are born with conditions that cause spinal deformities but poor posture can also lead to changes in the structure of your spine. When you sit or stand wrongly, you increase the risk of developing scoliosis or kyphosis. Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves to the side. Kyphosis is a condition where the curve at your shoulder region is far outward.
4. Digestive problems:
Your posture can have a significant impact on your digestive system. One example is having gas trapped in your system. Bloating is usually caused by sitting for long hours. This is why we are advised to sit up straight while eating. This will help in keeping a smaller amount of gas in the system as compared to eating when lying down. The forward head posture has been identified as one of the causes of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Abdominal pain, constipation, and heartburn are other digestive problems that can be caused by poor postures. There is so much sitting upright during a family dinner can do for you. You may think it is tedious at the moment, but a good posture will be beneficial for you in the long run.
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Akaji Blessing Odo, currently undergoing an undergraduate program in the department of medical laboratory science is a multitalented creative, who expresses her art in music and hair dressing and recently dived Into the writing world.