Can Poor Posture Make You Tired?

"Sit up straight" was a common command for many of us growing up. Did you roll your eyes whenever an adult would bark those three words at you? They may have sounded like a broken record back then, but now that we're older, maybe it's time we admit they were onto something.

There's no denying it, good posture looks good. Walking with your shoulders back and your chin up makes you appear confident, in command, and comfortable claiming your space in the world (not to mention, slimmer than when you slouch). But even beyond appearances, poor posture can take a real, tangible toll on your physical and mental state, as well as affect your energy levels. If you've got a history of slouching and have been feeling chronically fatigued, let's take a look at why poor posture might be to blame. 

Why does poor posture make you feel tired?

Believe it or not, poor posture can be contributing to your tiredness. Our bodies are designed to work a certain way. If, for example, you have a minor knee injury and you change the way you walk because of it, this adjustment could strain certain muscles and joints and keep them from working properly. When your body is out of alignment, or if you don't sit or stand with your spine straight for long periods of time, some of your muscles may be shortening and compressing, which directly affects your range of motion (per Spine and Health). A low range of motion, in turn, consumes more energy and often leaves us feeling drained.

Poor posture can also cause fatigue because it affects oxygen levels. According to Absolute Life Wellness Center, hunching over can constrict critical veins and arteries and restrict blood flow to important systems. Not enough blood getting to your organs means not enough oxygen reaching them, so your body might begin to shut down to conserve energy. A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science concluded that the posture we assume when looking down at a smartphone leads to reduced respiratory function as well.

How else can poor posture affect your health?

Bad posture can cause not only neck and back pain and spinal misalignment but also impaired cognitive function and digestive issues. When you don't sit or stand with a straight spine, your lungs can't function properly, meaning you can't breathe properly and your brain doesn't get the oxygen it needs, which can contribute to brain fog. Additionally, when you sit hunched over, your stomach including your digestive tract is compressed. If you habitually slouch, this can make digestion difficult and lead to a deficiency in needed nutrients (per Neuroscience Specialists).

Being mindful of your body and correcting your posture when you're out of alignment is imperative to your good health. If you find that standing up straight feels a bit difficult, try implementing some daily stretching into your morning routine. Improving your range of motion will make pulling those shoulders back more comfortable.