You may think your bad posture is only affecting how tall you appear, but the scary truth is that it can affect both your physical and mental health.
1. Muscle Pain and Fatigue
If you commonly find your body is tired, achy, tight or stiff for no reason, then your posture may be the cause. If you have poor posture your muscles have to work harder to hold you up. Energy is wasted when you move and you are left without the extra energy you need to feel good.
Tight, achy muscles (especially in the neck, back, arms and legs) are also caused by bad posture. More than 80% of neck and back problems are the result of tight, achy muscles caused by years of bad posture.
When you sit slouched over, it affects your breathing. Shallow chest breathing strains your lungs, which then requires your lungs to move faster to ensure adequate oxygen flow. This taxes the heart-it is forced to speed up to provide enough blood for oxygen transport. The result is a vicious cycle where stress prompts shallow breathing and in turn creates more stress on the body.
3. Unexpected Pain
Pain caused by posture can appear in surprising ways. When you lean your head forward while seated, you may be more likely to clench your jaw. Tightening facial muscles and clenching your jaw can lead to both headaches and jaw pain. Clenching also causes you to grind your teeth, which wears down enamel and causes tooth sensitivity. By repeatedly clenching, your jaw causes tension in the temporomandibular joint, wearing it down. This tension can cause other health problems such as neck and upper back pain.
Be careful not to over correct your posture. Over correcting and pulling your shoulders backward can cause you to tense muscles, creating pain and stiffness in your back. Eventually shoulder pain and poor posture can lead to conditions that leave the shoulder permanently rounded or contribute to joint degeneration in your spinal column.
Poor posture can affect not only how confident you feel, but also how confident others see you. Across species, body posture is often the primary representation of power. Expansive postures, widespread limbs, and enlargement of occupied space by spreading one's body increase feelings of power and an appetite for risk (compared with closed and constricted postures, limbs touching the torso, and minimization of occupied space by collapsing the body inward).