Health + Wellness

Straighten Up! How Bad Posture Hurts Your Health

bad posture
The typical bad posture symptoms that most people are familiar with include a painful back, as well as an aching neck and shoulders. But according to research, not standing and sitting up straight can set you up for some surprising health problems.

Unhealthy Symptoms Of Bad Posture

It hurts your life expectancy…

An Australian study found that after the age of 25, every single hour of television—i.e., slouching on the couch—reduced the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. Plus, when English researchers cross-referenced sitting time with health outcomes in a different study, they found that those people who sat the most more than doubled their risk of developing diabetes and had a 147% increase in their risk for cardiovascular disease, even if they exercised.

The fix: Stand up from a chair without using your arms and sit down in a smooth and controlled motion. Just doing this simple move can keep your lower body muscles very strong.

It hurts your circulation…

Our bodies are machines that move fluid and gases back and forth. Prolonged sitting, especially with your legs crossed, can cut off the flow, increase pressure and even cause spider veins.

The fix: To get the blood flowing to your lower body, stand up and find your best posture (these six tips can help you figure it out), then lift one leg up so your thigh is horizontal to the ground. Keep your standing leg locked (not hyperextended) and hold for five strong breaths, pushing your breathing down to your diaphragm. Repeat on the opposite side.

RELATED: Pay Attention To Your Posture! The Pay Off Will Be Priceless

It hurts your regularity…

“When you sit in a crunched position, your viscera (intestines) are folded up, too,” says Steven Weiniger, author of Stand Taller, Live Longer and founder of, which integrates chiropractic, exercise, massage and other therapies that promote healthy posture. “That can slow everything down.”

The fix: Yoga and pilates are great exercises to strengthen your core and help get things moving, says Weiniger. One pose that can rev up a sluggish gut is the Cobra: Lie on your belly while resting your head on your lower arms. Raise your forehead and look upwards, letting your weight rest on your chest. Letting your head fall back a little, move your belly further off the mat as if someone is pulling your arms.

It hurts your mood…

A recent study from Harvard showed that people who adopted powerful postures (open shoulders and straight spines) had a 20% increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol levels—but people who slouched had a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol. That translates into low self-confidence and high stress.

Sitting slouched over can compound the problem.

Shallow chest breathing strains the lungs, which must move faster to ensure adequate oxygen flow, and taxes the heart, which is forced to

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