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Remember how your mother always nagged you to stand up tall? While she was probably trying to help you look slimmer and more confident (both big perks of perfect posture), straightening up also offers concrete health benefits for your whole body. "Good posture is as important to your health as eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep," says Thomas Konicki, D.C., a chiropractic orthopedist in Dayton, OH. "It means less wear and tear on joints, less fatigue, and even less neck and back pain." Here are five excellent reasons to stand (and sit) tall:
1. Less back pain
Sitting in front of your computer or in the car all day especially in a hunched or slouched position increases pressure on disks in the spine, which can cause its supporting muscles and ligaments to degenerate sooner, says Esther Yaniv, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist in Austin, TX. This can lead to back pain and may worsen herniated disks or pinched nerves.
2. More energy
Good circulation is crucial to keeping your mind alert and body energized. But slumping tightens your chest and compresses your lungs which means less oxygen makes its way into your bloodstream, leaving you tired, stressed, and mentally foggy. And strain in any part of your body saps energy, says Yaniv: "Tense postures have the same fatiguing effect as holding a biceps curl for two hours."