Growing up, many of our parents would demand that we sit up and stop slouching, for no other reason than it might make us look bad. But there are so many other elements to the importance of posture, elements that are affecting millions of us every day. From neck and back pain to blood flow and respiration, posture can have a major impact on how we live and how we feel every day.
So here are 10 of the top posture mistakes we make on a day to day basis. Look out for these, and as you become more and more aware of these errors, you can gradually begin to correct them.
1) Sitting and working at a computer -- Our bodies are designed for movement, not sitting for long periods of time.
2) Talking on the phone, texting, etc. -- Most folks tilt their head while talking on the phone or slouch the head forward while texting on a smartphone.
3) Tight front (anterior chain) of the body -- We all need to focus on opening and lengthening our front, while performing exercises and movements that strengthen our back. So treat yourself more like an athlete and less as a desk jockey.
4) Slouching while driving, flying, or taking the train -- Studies show that the vibration created by engines can oscillate at a frequency that relaxes and sedates your muscles, so your body is in a poor position and your muscles have to work extra harder to support you.
5) Wearing over-weighted backpacks or purses -- These posture killers can be particularly stressful, especially those worn always over the same shoulder.
6) Previous injuries to neck, back and or shoulders -- These old high school or college sports injuries can cause the body to adapt by shortening or forming scar tissue in the muscles and soft tissues, creating chronic stiffness and poor posture.
7) Working with arms out in front -- Constantly "reaching" for the computeruses large shoulder, chest and arm muscles that when over-used and under-stretched can begin to pull your shoulders and head forward.
8) Bending forward from your back (e.g., while brushing teeth or lifting things from floor) -- The muscles around your hips are the biggest and most powerful in your body, so always hinge (push back) from the hips when bending forward, while keeping your weight toward your heels to activate the muscles that protect the natural "S" curve of your spine from turning into a "C" curve that ruins your posture.
9) Weak feet -- If your feet are weak, they will roll inward and cause something called "serial distortion" -- which causes a global collapse of efficient support for your body. In other words, having weak feet can make you slouch!
10) Stress -- As you probably know, some stress is good for us, but if stress is an ever-present part of your life, your body can become a window to your thoughts. Stress can cause your "fight or flight" mechanisms to work overtime, creating tension in the muscles you use the most. These are the exact muscles that affect your posture and pull you into the land of the slouchers.