Many people don’t realize that they are feeling discomfort or pain until they experience something that opens their eyes to how much better they can actually feel. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for medical visits and has a myriad of causes and solutions.
One of the easiest solutions is also one of the most overlooked: good posture. There are many benefits to having good posture, including less stress, better oxygen to the blood, and, of course, fewer physical problems in the future.
Physical Pain
The most commonly recognized repercussion of having bad posture is the potential of having bad back problems. Practicing good posture reduces the chance of having back aches or pain and slipped discs, and it eases the pressure on joints and muscles. If you spend all day at a desk, you know how uncomfortable it can be to sit in a chair all day staring at a computer screen or paperwork. It can be tempting to slouch or slide down in your chair, which might even bring relief for a time, but it will only damage your back in the end.
Better Oxygen Flow
Slouching cuts off air supply to your blood vessels, which can make it difficult to breathe or get enough air into your lungs. Your muscles will also have room to move and stretch—this includes your diaphragm, which is the muscle that expands and contracts as you breathe. You’ll breathe more comfortably if you sit up straight.
Quicker Thinking
Increased oxygen flow means more oxygen to your brain, which will result in clearer, quicker thinking and better concentration. If you’re having a hard time problem-solving at work, try sitting up straight. Your processing speed might just get a little faster.
Weight Loss
It’s true that sitting up straight helps you look like you’ve lost 5 or 10 pounds, but it’s more than just appearance. Sitting up straight activates muscles that are otherwise dormant when you’re slouching. You don’t get much exercise at a desk job, but practicing good posture is one of the easiest ways to get your body working a little harder. Tummy tucks are another option for removing weight and improving posture.
Having good posture will make you appear more confident and self-assured. Think of how you react when you’re talking to someone slouching or sinking into their seat compared to someone who is standing or sitting up straight. And again, it isn’t all about appearances—having good posture will help you feel more confident too.

How to Improve Your Posture

Now that we’ve established how important good posture is, the question is how to achieve it. Practice makes perfect, but here are a few suggestions.
Good Mattress and Pillows
Getting a good night’s sleep can make all the difference in your spine’s alignment. Sleeping on a mattress that’s too soft or doesn’t have enough support will throw off your back. There isn’t one good mattress for everyone, so make sure you find one that works for you.
Get Adjusted
If you have a history of back pain or have recently been in a sports or car accident, consider getting an appointment with a chiropractor. They adjust the spinal cord, which can free pinched nerves that are causing aches, pains, headaches, nausea, and other uncomfortable or painful symptoms. Once you’ve had your back adjusted to where it needs to be, having good posture will feel natural and comfortable instead of a chore.
Get Support
Invest in some kind of lumbar support, especially if you are a frequent traveler or work at a desk job. The lumbar region is the lower part of your spine, between your diaphragm and pelvis. Since lower back pain is the most common complaint among those with back pain, it’s important to give it as much support as possible. Find a comfortable cushion, padded roll, or cushioned seat mold that will help you maintain good posture. (Check out Spine-Health for more information about lower back pain.)
Ground Your Feet
When you sit in your desk chair, keep both feet planted firmly on the floor. This will help you remember to keep your spine comfortably straight.
Set Reminders to Check Posture
Set a timer or reminder to go off periodically throughout your work day. Every time it goes off, check that your feet are planted, that you’re not leaning forward, slouching, or sliding down in your chair, and that your arms and hands are at comfortable angles to your body.

When your mother spent your childhood telling you to sit up straight, she knew what she was talking about. Good posture can make all the difference in your overall health. It will make you more confident, approachable, and ease back aches and pains. It might take a little time to make it a habit, but it will be well worth the effort.

Author's Bio: 

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.