Sitting seems to be America’s favorite pastime, but too much of this unhealthy habit can kill you – quite literally. Whether you’re hunched over your desk at work or over the computer screen at home, excessive sitting and lack of activity doesn’t just increase your risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, it also affects your mental well-being and body posture.
William Smith, the author of Exercises for Perfect Posture, says that we’re such a forward-leaning society in terms of progress and innovation, but unfortunately, that also translates into our poor posture from pending too much time looking down at our smartphones or hunching over the computer.
Even though there is no proof of a direct link between bad posture and other health problems like stress and anxiety, but studies have shown that it can make the symptoms worse in people who are already suffering from a mental health disorder.
But even if you’re in your best mental and physical health, there are a number of compelling reasons why sitting up straight can help you live a long and happy life, free from the risk of diseases and injuries. Here are three ways you can improve the quality of your life by simply working on your sitting posture.
You’ll have More Energy
Physical therapist Steven D’Ambroso, who works at the Professional Physical Therapy in New York, says that keeping your spine in a neutral position is the best way to avoid back injuries and complications in the future.
Slumped-forward or over-arched posture puts our back and neck under unnecessary strain which can make you feel tired and uncomfortable over time. Many studies have shown that poor posture can have an effect on your energy levels, making you feel tired and unproductive throughout the day. The symptoms are exacerbated in people suffering from depression or any other mental health conditions which are linked with fatigue and lack of energy.
A study featured in the Journal of Behavior Therapy last year found that people who suffered from depression and anxiety improved their mood drastically by simply correcting their posture. The participants also improved their energy and productivity levels by keeping their back and shoulders straight while sitting.
A different research featured in Biofeedback journal also showed similar results: people who suffered from depression were likely to make their symptoms more severe by slouching or hunching.
You’ll Feel More Confident
If you want to project confidence at an interview or a meeting, it is crucial to maintain good posture and carry yourself a certain way. Keep your spine aligned and your abdomen in instead of slouching or hunching which exudes a weak persona.
According to a study published in Health Psychology, people who suffer from chronic stress can reduce the negative symptoms and boost their self-esteem by simply correcting their posture. People with good posture also have a better body image than those who hunch a lot.
You’ll Be More Open
This may seem like an absurd theory but studies have shown that people who hunch tend to be more self-guarded which prevents them from opening up to new experiences or developing new relationships.
Forward-slumping is also a trait associated with people who are trying to hide something which can make them seem untrustworthy. Experts say that people who stand with a good posture come off as more approachable and there is something about their demeanor that tells that they’re ready to face the day.
Fixing Your Posture
Sitting with good posture is crucial for people who work desk jobs. If you have to sit in front of your computer for a long time, make sure your work station is set up ergonomically. Moreover, it is recommended to get up from your chair every half an hour to stretch your legs and walk around to improve blood circulation.
There are certain exercises you can do to improve your posture such as pulling your arms back and pinching your shoulder blades together for a nice stretch. You can also try readjusting your position every half an hour if your work requires a lot of sitting.