Apart from putting excessive strain on muscles and joints, your poor sitting posture could be causing some serious health issues and affecting your fat-loss efforts.
1) Poor posture negatively affects your breathing patterns by restricting the diaphragm and intercostals which are meant to do the majority of the work whilst breathing. The pecs, trapezius and neck muscles are instead recruited which puts the body into a ‘fight or flight’ state. This negatively affects recovery and hormone levels which can affect metabolism (and therefore fat-loss).
2) A forward head position (common when using smart phones and laptops) restricts the vagus nerve controlling digestion. And a compressed torso from slouching will restrict gastro-intestinal organs possibly resulting in poor nutrient absorption and reflux. Both of which increase the risk of serious chronic illness.
3) Poor posture can trigger headaches. Excessive tension and load on the muscles of the rear neck and base of the skull can restrict blood flow to the head (and jaw) and therefore cause headaches and poor concentration.
4) Poor posture negatively affects your mood, energy and self-esteem. Research shows how easily we can influence our mental state through physical and postural states. So, if you’re feeling worried, stressed and somewhat depressed, slouching over a computer or phone is only going to make you feel worse. So how do we easily and conveniently improve our posture?
- Set an hourly phone alarm as a reminder to take note and improve your posture. When busy with work it can be easy to forget about posture for hours on end.
- Do more pulling exercises. Rows, pull-downs, face-pulls and rear flies all target the postural muscles that need strengthening.
- Stretch the pushing muscles. Pecs and shoulders can become tight with poor posture which can exacerbate the problem.
- Get a stand up desk or at least put your monitor at eye level to avoid excessive forward head tilt.