Slouching is a common problem among a lot of people. It has several consequences including:
- Pulled and weakened muscles
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Breathing difficulties that might lead to fatigue
Furthermore, it triggers gastrointestinal reflux and musculoskeletal stress. To avoid such issues, learning how to stop slouching is essential. This can help you prevent its consequences.
Why You Might Be Slouching So Much?
The importance of sitting and standing up straight and practicing good posture can’t be disregarded. However, it’s quite hard to do so, especially if your job requires you to be in front of your computer or laptop several hours a day.
You may think that this is okay but it is time to correct that misconception. Poor posture caused by slouching can negatively affect your health. It’s important to understand the specific reasons why you slouch so you can solve it correctly.
One common reason why people slouch is depression. Those who feel depressed usually slouch. They often have droopy shoulders, mirroring their sadness and bad mood.
If you feel like you slouch because of depression then take note that the truth might be the other way around. This means that while sadness might cause you to sit that way, it could also be the way you are sitting that causes you to feel down and depressed.
Each time you feel down or depressed, check your posture. Find out if you are slouching. If you do, try to correct it by sitting up or standing straight to raise your energy and eliminate fatigue.
Bad Ergonomics at your Desk
You also have a high risk of slouching if your desk has poor or bad ergonomics. Poor desk setup, including the incorrect height of the monitor and the wrong type of chair, can make you sit incorrectly. To prevent that, avoid repositioning your body as a means of fitting the work area.
What you should do, instead, is to create a well-supported and comfortable position then reorganize your work area so it will fit that specific position. One common mistake in workspace ergonomics is sitting extremely far from your PC or desk. To correct that, here are some tips:
- Bend your elbows at 90 degrees.
- Ensure that you do not need to reach forward to use your mouse or keyboard.
- Position your PC’s screen at eye level. It should be in a way that lets you read something from the screen easily without having to lean forward.
Sitting Too Long
Prolonged sitting is also one reason behind slouching. Note that even with an excellent ergonomic setup, your muscles may still experience fatigue eventually. This is true if you have been sitting for hours, like during meetings.
If your job requires you to sit for an extended period then change your position now and then to give your fatigued postural muscles the chance to recover. Alternating between standing and sitting in a desk every twenty to thirty minutes or so can help.
However, if you only have a sitting desk then do not forget to take short breaks (around two to five minutes) every twenty to thirty minutes. Do short exercises or walk around during this short break. You may also just simply stand up.
Looking Down at your Phone
Spending too much time looking down at your phone can ruin your posture, too. However, you may have a hard time avoiding hours of slouching at the screen. In such a case, it is wise to understand what this position can do to your back.
Slouching for hours every day when looking at your phone might:
- Cause misalignment to your whole back
- Poor posture
- Excessive back pain
- Poor circulation
- Joint problems
- Breathing difficulties
By learning about these consequences, you can motivate yourself to avoid the excessive use of your phone or at least, practice a good posture when doing so.
Carrying Heavy Objects
Carrying extremely heavy items, like a heavy bag or backpack, might also cause you to slouch. This can eventually result in poor posture, back problems, headaches, neck pain, and shoulder problems. One fact you have to be aware of is that your spine consists of 33 bones known as vertebrae.
Disks that have natural shock-absorbent properties can also be seen in between the vertebrae. Putting an extremely heavy item on your shoulders incorrectly might cause the force of the weight to pull you backward.
This might result in you arching your back or bending forward at your hips. This is a way for it to compensate for the force. Furthermore, slouching might be a common consequence, which can further lead to back, neck, and shoulder pains.
How to Stop Slouching and Improve Posture?
Now that you know the specific reasons for slouching and its negative effects, it is time to start identifying the things that you can do to stop and improve the issue. Fortunately, most of the solutions for slouching and poor posture are easy to do.
In this section, we have come up with 5 simple yet effective ways to finally stop your urge to slouch. Most of these solutions can also greatly help in improving your posture.
Improve your Mental Power and Confidence
If you slouch then others might perceive you as someone who lacks self-confidence. It is because good posture contributes a lot to the people’s perception of you. If you stand up straight then it instantly projects poise, authority, and confidence.
Slouching, on the other hand, might make you appear disinterested and unprofessional. This is why improving your mental power and confidence is an effective tip in correcting your posture.
One great idea is to practice high power poses. Do these poses for a minute every day. You may also want to roll back both your shoulders and make sure you don’t look tense all the time.
You can do that by letting the muscles of your upper body relax. Moreover, ensure that your core remains firm.
Exercise and Flatten your Waistline
Exercise can also do a great job of correcting your posture, thereby preventing you from slouching. Note that if you slouch, your belly might still bulge even if you are slender. Do some exercises that will flatten your waistline and strengthen your core.
Doing such exercises will encourage your core muscles to work together so you can stand and sit with the correct posture. To strengthen your core, you may want to do Pilates and Yoga.
Both of these work in strengthening your core. It is because it requires you to have full control over your movements. That way, you can hold certain positions for a certain period.
Strengthen your Spine
Building a stronger spine is also an incredible idea for those who wish to stop slouching. One way to achieve that is to correct your posture. Aside from being extra mindful of your posture, try a few exercises that target your spine.
One simple exercise for this involves the following steps:
- Lie with your stomach and your palms positioned flat on the floor. Your palms should also be close to your ribs.
- Extend your legs then press the topmost part of your feet to the floor.
- Exhale strongly while pulling in your abdominal muscles then pull them up to your spine. Elongate this pose through the spine then raise your chest and head slowly from the floor. Use only the muscles of your back.
- Lower your back slowly. Do this for 3-5 times. You can increase reps once you notice your lower back and spine getting stronger.
Smart Posture Device
Using a smart posture device can also help. A good one will instantly let you know whether you need to correct your posture. With that, you can prevent issues triggered by slouching and poor posture, including muscle strain and back pain.
Fortunately, you have several choices for smart posture devices that will let you sit and stand up straight. One great choice is the Lumo Lift. This smart posture device consists of a plastic and small oblong-shaped sensor that you should wear close to your body, specifically below your collarbone.
This functions by sounding a buzz that serves as a gentle reminder each time you slump back or slouch. One advantage of this device is that it performs other functions, like measuring your burned calories and the number of steps you’ve taken. Other devices include Upright Go and Nadi X.
Take a Stand on Slouching
What you should do, in this tip, is to practice standing with a good posture. You may not pay close attention to the way you stand but it contributes a lot to your overall posture. Standing with good posture is possible by practicing these steps and tips:
- Stand tall and straight while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Make sure that you pull your shoulders back a bit, too.
- Stand and make sure that your feet are around shoulder-width apart. Most of your weight should be placed on each ball of your feet.
- Bend your knees a bit then allow your stomach to be tucked in.
- Level your head with your ears. Do not bend it forward.
- After that, transfer your weight either from one foot to another or from toes to heels.
- Doing these steps often can greatly improve your standing posture.
Bottom Line and Future Prevention
The key to preventing yourself from slouching is to pay close attention to your posture. Aside from the tips above, setting alerts on your mobile phone designed to remind you to stand or sit up straight can help. It should also remind you to take breaks regularly.
By doing that, you can prevent your muscles from getting tensed and stiff even if it stays in a single position for a long time. Furthermore, it helps to stretch regularly. Do some exercises designed to strengthen your muscles and make them flexible.
You can also prevent slouching and its negative consequences in the future by setting an effective trigger to remind you of the tips mentioned here and do some stretches.