Stooping makes you stoopid. Well, not necessarily, but standing or sitting for prolonged periods with a slumped posture isn’t exactly a brain stimulating activity. Of course, we all assume a poor posture from time to time. But that time is ever increasing. With the advent of the smart phone many of us are walking around with crooked necks in a digital stupor. It’s good for your soul to take technology breaks and learn how to stand how Mother Nature intended.
In this short post I give 3 reasons why standing straight is critical.
- Increased delivery of oxygen
- Better quality of movement
- Improved memory
As people’s cognitive ability declines, their posture inevitably worsens. It is a chicken or egg scenario; bad posture worsens brain function, but likewise poor brain health results in worse posture.
Just like a plant needs sunshine, water, and soil, the brain needs oxygen, glucose, and stimulation to survive. Erect posture meets two of these needs, helping us to breathe better and be stimulated by better movement.
See for yourself: try and take a full breath with your head slumped forward versus with your shoulders back and head high and chin lightly tucked in. It’s pretty tough to get a full breath with a hump in your back. Likewise slouching forward results in more stress on your joints—think Text Neck.
Straight and upright postures are beautiful and regal. Beyond good looks and heightened self-esteem, an upright posture is a sign of a healthy brain. There are several reasons for this: people who stand straighter move with greater ease. They’re significantly less likely to fall. As we age we tend to develop worse posture, and as might be expected rates of falling increase. Research demonstrates that older individuals with better posture fall less compared to their peers with poor posture. Training to improve the strength of your back and neck along with gentle exercises like Tai Chi are shown to improve balance and stability.
With age people tend to lose their verbal and short-term memory. New research shows a strong connection between posture and memory. The more forward your head is relative to your body, the more likely you are to have poor short-term memory. Researchers from the University of Idaho and Washington State University demonstrated a direct relationship between forward head carriage and memory issues.
Like I showed you earlier a stooped neck makes it harder and you get less oxygen. Proper oxygenation is absolutely critical for the brain. In the field of functional neurology, we place special importance on the role oxygen plays in keeping your nervous system and brain humming along at maximum power.
Here at Vance Chiropractic and Functional Neurology we take brain health and posture seriously. I’ll be posting a video for exercises to improve your posture soon.
Joey Vance, DC, DACNB