Maintaining good posture offers a host of benefits. It not only makes you feel better physically, but also mentally and spiritually. In fact, sitting with good posture creates a certain mood or feeling. Some call it confidence while others call it vitality, but, overall, it feels strengthening. Check out these five key benefits of good posture to motivate yourself to always sit upright at your desk and the dinner table.
1. It Reduces Back Pain
The increasing number of people suffering from chronic back pain makes this a highly sought-after benefit of good posture. While chronic back pain can place a large burden on people’s lives, research shows a direct correlation between postural awareness and pain. In fact, one recent study reveals that maintaining good posture can reduce pain in both the shoulder and spinal regions of the back.
It makes sense that good posture would help reduce and prevent back pain. When someone sits with a bad posture, it can lead to cramping and weakening of their back muscles. Conversely, sitting upright strengthens the back muscles and keeps the spine in a vertical line. This prevents cramping as well as spinal tension.
2. It Enhances Brain Health
Maintaining good posture also can enhance your brain health. Research shows a difference in brain activity between people with a limp posture and those with an upright posture. One recent study found that students who sat in an upright position performed better on difficult cognitive tasks, such as math.
Good posture seems to be key for optimal focus and even memory function. When you sit up straight, it triggers attention and a preparatory mood that can, in turn, help improve your performance.
3. It Creates Confidence
When people sit, they’re often completing important school, work, or other tasks. Sitting with good posture can mean the difference between completing these tasks with confidence or with sluggishness.
Maintaining good posture increases your confidence by making you feel more ready for — and focused on — the task at hand. Sitting in a limp or slouched position, on the other hand, can create feelings of lethargy and adversely affect confidence.
The next time you face some difficult tasks, try sitting completely straight and taking a few deep, cleansing breaths. You’ll likely feel a difference in how confidently you’re able to complete those tasks.
4. It Helps With Anxiety
Research suggests that practicing “power poses,” or good postural poses, can help people effectively lessen their anxiety. These power poses decrease a person’s sense of “risk” and can even benefit their neuroendocrine systems. This can prove helpful in times of high anxiety or even for people with anxiety disorders.
Try maintaining good posture before you give a speech or enter into other social situations that make you anxious. This approach also can help if you’re prone to panic. In times of intense anxiety, try sitting upright and taking deep, slow breaths.
5. It Heightens Meditation
Many people know meditation as a relaxing practice. Yet, it’s not about falling asleep and does require a certain level of focus. During meditation, individuals must maintain a sense of alertness — usually on their breath and immediate surroundings.
Meditation instructors ask their students to sit upright rather than in a limp, lazy posture for a good reason. When you sit upright, meditation becomes a very mindful, engaged experience. Meditating actually requires a lot of mental stamina, consistency, and perseverance. Sitting with good posture can help you improve your meditation practice notably.
But, It Takes Practice and Consistency
Making good posture a habit doesn’t happen overnight. You need to practice consistency over time on your journey to maintaining a better posture. Here are a few techniques to help make sitting up straight a consistent part of your daily life:
- Sit up Straight While Performing Desk Work. Whether you sit at a desk for school or work, this is a perfect time to practice good posture — especially because you’ll do these activities for a good amount of time.
- Watch When You Start Slouching. What’s causing it? Are you hungry, tired, or lacking motivation? Try to avoid slouching as much as possible because excessive slouching can cause back problems.
- In Times of Anxiety, Sit Completely Straight and Puff Out Your Chest a Bit. This posture can decrease your anxiety and prepare you for what’s to come. It’s especially effective when coupled with deep, slow breathing.
- During Meditation, Sit Completely Straight to Vertically Align Your Spine From Neck to Tailbone. Sitting this way will improve your focus and clarity during meditation. It also will make it easier for you to focus on your breathing and other aspects of your present moment.
Many people find it challenging to maintain good posture because it’s easy to start slouching when they feel unmotivated, overworked, or anxious. Whenever these feelings arise, you likely need a rest. Return to work when you feel you can once again sit with better posture.