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There are so many little acts of kindness we can do for our bodies and flexing that “good posture” muscle is one of them. We know you’ve heard it time and time again that good posture is incredibly important. “You should be able to balance a pencil on your head,” said every adult ever. However, they might have been on to something.

Bad posture looks, well, bad — but it can also have detrimental effects on your overall health. Don’t believe us? Sit up straight and take a look at some of the facts.

Creates tension
We’ll state the obvious here: bad posture can cause some serious tension to the shoulders, back, and neck. “It can lead to rotator cuff tendons pressing on the coracoacromial arch of your shoulder, which causes pain when you move or lie on the side of the affected shoulder,” says Ruben Castaneda in an article from U.S. News. Poor posture will also lead to the shortening and contraction of the lumbar muscles, which inevitably contributes to tightness and lower back pain.

Poor digestion
With poor posture, you tend to slouch so much so that your shoulders fold over your abdomen and chest. This action squeezes those abdominal organs and disrupts the digestive tract, possibly slowing down your metabolism over time. Side effects of this can include constipation and gastrointestinal pain.

Misaligned spine
Doing everyday activities without being deliberate with your body mechanics can take a toll on the musculoskeletal system, causing a misaligned spine or muscle spasm. If that wasn’t enough, a misaligned spine can increase the stress on your knees — especially if you’re someone who suffers from arthritis.

Lowers breath quality
Think about when you take a deep breath. You often sit up straight in order to get deeper and deeper with each breath. The same applies here. If you’re slouching 24/7, you’re not allowing your lungs to function the best they can for you. Also, your diaphragm needs all the space it can get in the thoracic cavity to properly release and contract with each breath says Castaneda. Your breath quality is extremely important to your brain and heart function, so it’s important to practice good posture.

Low on nerve supply
Bad posture can cause a curvature in your spine, which in turn can pierce through your nerve supply. When that happens, you’re really putting your body at risk because your brain can no longer communicate with the rest of your body the way it’s supposed to.

Low energy
When you have poor posture, you’re actually adding unnecessary tension to certain parts of your body. These types of strains will build up over time causing aches in your joints and muscles. Our body then tends to overcompensate and exhaust itself too much, which causes fatigue and bouts of low energy.

Ready to improve your posture? Look in the mirror every so often and be mindful of when you’re slouching. If you sit in a desk all day, be sure to check in with yourself by rolling your shoulders back, sitting up tall, and taking a deep breath. You can also tighten your core, get up and move around more often, and incorporate stretching into your daily routine.

Do you have any tips on improving your posture? Let us know in the comments below!

xx, The FabFitFun Team