Updated: May 11
Your posture and your breathing are closely aligned.
What are you doing right now? Are you standing or sitting while reading this? Are you at your desk? Is your head resting back against your chair, or, is your nose almost touching your phone screen?
If you are leaning forward with your head and shoulders slouched forward and try and can take a breath in, then you’ll probably notice that it’s not that easy to take a deep breath in. This is because leaning forward compresses the lung fields and decreases your breathing volume, which also reduces the amount of oxygen flowing through the body.
In a 2011 research paper by Hojat and Mahdi, lung volume, expiratory flow and vital capacity were assessed as 20 male students were observed in different sitting and standing postures. Pulmonary function was found to have significantly lower values in a sitting slumped position in comparison to a standing position. Good posture in the standing position produced greater results, demonstrating the increase in expiratory flow and vital capacity, and therefore lung function.
Pulmonary function was found to have significantly lower values in a sitting slumped position in comparison to a standing position.
So, what can we learn from this? Slouching or rounding your shoulders forward can decrease lung function and therefore decrease the oxygen circulation within the body. By improving your posture, you can also improve your lung function and increase the oxygen in your body. Increased oxygen also means more energy!
TIPS to create good posture:
Sleep on a good mattress and supportive pillow
Practice sitting in an optimal position – Lift your chest up, stretch your arms out wide, palms turned up and your fingers outstretched, breathing in through your abdomen
Ergonomic work environment – make sure your eyes meet up with your computer without tucking your chin in or up and out (HINT: look at your chair height). Also, make sure your low back has good support and you’re sitting at a 90 degree angle.
Get regular adjustments! See your chiropractor regularly to maintain a healthy spine and central nervous system
Hojan B and Mahdi E. Effect of different sitting posture on pulmonary function in students. Journal of Physiology and Pathophysiology, 2011 july; 2(2); pp.29-33.
Figure: Image courtesy of yodiyim at FreeDigitalPhotos.net