If you’re anything like me, just reading the word ‘posture’ prompts you to snap your shoulders back with military precision.
We all know it’s important to stand and sit up straight, but it’s very easy to forget to do this when you’re not getting constant reminders from your mum (or if you’re not a professional dancer).
So we end up slumping back in our office chairs, rolling our shoulders forward while Facebook stalking, and throwing out our hips while queuing for our morning lattes.
As well as making you look a bit odd, poor posture can have some nasty short, and long-term, effects on your body. It can give you headaches, weaken your muscles, hinder your circulation, and cause pain in your back, neck, chest and shoulders.
Unfortunately, there are things messing with your posture that you aren’t even aware of. Let’s walk through them.
1. Your emotions
It's not just physical objects and environments that impact on how you hold yourself. You know how when you're feeling really afraid, your body immediately recoils? Any negative, stressful emotion can cause that rigidity in your body without you realising.
"If someone is stressed or angry, straight away that causes an increase in tension in their muscular system... and if you're constantly in a position to have those emotions, you're going to get an overload of muscle tension," explains Colin Phillips, physiotherapist and director of Go Health Online.
"Sometimes we will see patients who come in with neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches, and we can treat them all day but that won't solve the problem. The issue is a stressful environment - a home environment, a work environment, that's what they really need to address."