Why Correct Your Posture? Harvard Gives Us Three Unusual Reasons

I’ve blatted on, at great length, about the hazards of poor posture. But who am I? Just some desk jockey, in a totally unrelated field, who had bad posture (and many of the problems associated with it) and overcame it (and those problems associated with it). So why take my word for it?

Well, as with anything in life, I say, don’t take my word for it, take an expert’s word for it. Say, for instance Meghan Markowski, a physical therapist at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She talked to Harvard Health Publishing about the common side effects of poor posture. Her list included:

Just for fun, every hotlink in that list goes to something I wrote on the very same topic. Which answers the question, “Why take my word for it?” I may not be a PT, but I do have some knowledge and experience on the topic.

Moving on.

According to MM, here are three more health problems associated with poor posture.

1. Incontinence

Poor posture increases abdominal pressure, including pressure on the bladder (wait, I wrote about that). If you have weak core muscles (including the pelvic floor muscles) it can be harder to hold it in. Hey, darned if I didn’t write a whole LOT on strengthening your core muscles to improve your posture. Turns out doing so can improve bladder control.

2. Constipation

Several years ago I had a terrible crick in my back. I showed the yoga teacher that night where on my spine it was and she asked, “Are you constipated?”

Wait, wut?

Yeah, seriously, Miranda’s reaction to me having a crick in my back was to ask where along the spine, and then ask about constipation. Something about the nerve cluster where the crick was located being associated with bowel function. I wrote it off as coincidence, but here we are. Meghan Markowski suggests that hunching over on the toilet, knees lower than hips can close the anus and make it harder for the muscles to move your bowels.

Different theory, same problem.

3. Heartburn and slowed digestion

Once again we return to poor posture increasing pressure on the viscera, in this case the stomach and intestines. This leads to two potential problems; acid reflux (acid moving up the esophagus instead of down the intestines) and slowing down the movement of food through the intestines.

Interestingly enough, while I haven’t touched specifically on the topic of poor posture and digestion, I have written about posture and sleep, and about acid indigestion and poor sleep.

I didn’t really set out today to write a post that is pretty much just tooting my own horn, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I love being right.” Hey, we all do.