When You Slouch Every Day, This Is What Happens

While you might not give your posture much thought, it is important. Standing up straight helps your body stay balanced while doing a variety of activities that include walking, running, dancing, and exercising. When your posture is correct while you're on your feet, your chin is parallel with the floor, your shoulders are even, and your spine isn't flexed or arched. When you're sitting, your chin should still be parallel with the floor, and your shoulders, hips, and knees should be even, with your knees and feet facing forward, per Harvard Health Publishing.

If you're like most people, you slouch while looking at your phone or sitting at your desk sometimes. It's easy to do, but slouching too much leads to more than a bad posture. For example, it can compress some of your internal organs, causing gastrointestinal upset and acid reflux, per the University of Miami. Furthermore, slouching can make you feel tired — especially if you sit at a desk for eight hours a day. Orthopedic surgeon Joseph Gjolaj told the university that when your neck isn't aligned, you're making your body work harder than it has to, which leads to fatigue. 

Slouching can cause other problems

Slouching can lead to other complications, too. You might have experienced some neck strain or pain after catching yourself slouching. This is the result of your neck holding your head forward. Chiropractor Richard Arrandt told Shape that slouching can lead to headaches and back, shoulder, and jaw pain. Moreover, slouching over a long period can also cause "real damage," according to chiropractor Andrew Bang, DC. He told Cleveland Clinic that slouching overworks the muscles in your neck and back. Your head weighs about 10 pounds when you sit up straight, but for every inch you tilt your head forward, the weight it places on your spine doubles, which explains why your neck hurts. As your body works to heal those muscles, inflammation could occur, possibly leading to arthritis. 

The best way to combat poor posture issues is to be mindful about it. Make sure your computer screen is at eye level, so you aren't looking down while at your desk. Don't sit for prolonged periods of time, and take short breaks every hour. Cleveland Clinic notes that exercises such as supermans, planks, and leg extensions will help strengthen muscles that improve your posture.