A bad posture doesn’t always leave you with an aching back or neck pain. Over time, it can cause a permanent misalignment of your spine and lead to excruciating or continuous pain that can plague you for life.

Here are five surprising ways in which bad posture can affect your health.

1. Induces Depression
Did you know that the more you practice poor posture, the more it makes you prone to feeling depressed, particularly slouching? This can take a toll on your energy levels as well as your overall mental health and happiness.[1]

Beat It: Imagine you have a bright light shining on your body, right at the front. Remember to sit, stand or walk at all times in such a way that the light keeps shining bright and never gets out of focus.

2. Reduces Life Expectancy
The truth is that when you sit and slouch for too long, especially after you the age of 25, each hour of slouching can reduce your life expectancy by about 21.8 minutes. You heard that right! Besides, it also increases your risk of death caused by a cardiovascular disease. [2]

Beat It: You can use your screen viewing time to exercise and maintain good posture. Stretch your arms in the front while keeping your back straight. Stand up slowly from a sitting position without using any support. Sit down again keeping your hands in the same position and repeat.

3. Leads To A Hunchback
Having bad posture for a long period of time, can increase your risk of developing a hunchback, which is a condition when your back arches up due to the collapse of a vertebra. Sitting in a hunched position can put unnecessary pressure on your chest muscles and might weaken the muscles in your upper back as well. [3]

Beat It: Lie down on an exercise ball so that it is placed directly in the middle of your spine. Stretch your arms over your head and slowly move back and forth to massage your spine.

4. Increases Stress
A study says that slumped and upright postures can affect your stress responses, too. Adopting an upright seated posture when under a lot of stress can help maintain self-esteem, reduce negative mood, and increase positive thoughts compared to a slumped posture. The study goes on to say that sitting upright may be a simple behavioral strategy to help build resilience to stress.. [4]

Beat It: Keep your back straight and place your hands just below your navel. Breathe in deeply and take in the air to expand your belly. Exhale slowly and suck in your stomach. Repeat.

5. Causes Anterior Pelvic Tilt
A problem that affects many, anterior pelvic tilt is a posture problem that can affect anyone who sits for a long period of time. It makes your pelvic tilt forward so that your back bends and your belly protrudes forward, leaving you with a severe pain in the lower back.

Beat It: Kneel down on one knee and tighten your hip muscles till you feel them stretch. Stretch the arm corresponding to the knee that you are bending and stretch it on the opposite side. Change sides and repeat. [5]

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page. Read more about Diseases & Conditions here.

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Standing, Sitting And Walking: Tips For Healthy Posture | Z Living

1. Influence of posture and stimulus parameters on post-activation depression of the soleus H-reflex in individuals with chronic spinal injury. Field-Fote, Edelle C., Kwame M. Brown, and Stephen D. Lindley. “Influence of Posture and Stimulus Parameters on Post-Activation Depression of the Soleus H-Reflex in Individuals with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury.” Neuroscience letters 410.1 (2006): 37–41. PMC. Web. 7 Oct. 2015. (Accessed 7 Oct 2015)

2.Sedentary behaviors increase risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in men. 1: Warren TY, Barry V, Hooker SP, Sui X, Church TS, Blair SN. Sedentary behaviors increase risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 May;42(5):879-85. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c3aa7e. PubMed PMID: 19996993; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2857522. (Accessed 7 Oct 2015)

3.Postural Screening Program. http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/com-health/school/psmanual04.pdf (Accessed 7 Oct 2015)

4.Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial. 1: Nair S, Sagar M, Sollers J 3rd, Consedine N, Broadbent E. Do slumped and upright postures affect stress responses? A randomized trial. Health Psychol. 2015 Jun;34(6):632-41. doi: 10.1037/hea0000146. Epub 2014 Sep 15. PubMed PMID:25222091. (Accessed 7 Oct 2015)

5.Effects of inclined treadmill walking on pelvic anterior tilt angle, hamstring muscle length and trunk muscle endurance of seated workers with flat-back syndrome. Kim, Min-hee, and Won-gyu Yoo. “Effects of Inclined Treadmill Walking on Pelvic Anterior Tilt Angle, Hamstring Muscle Length, and Trunk Muscle Endurance of Seated Workers with Flat-Back Syndrome.” Journal of Physical Therapy Science 26.6 (2014): 855–856. PMC. Web. 7 Oct. 2015. (Accessed 7 Oct 2015)

A pregnancy & babycare writer as well as wellness believer, Debolina is always trying to bring in health and wellness into her family’s, especially her kids’, lives. With a Master’s degree in English literature, she has worked with several mothercare and babycare brands. In her free time, she helps with campaigns that work towards promoting the health and well-being of women and babies. Her experiences as a mother help her talk about busy modern-day parenting and its changing trends.