Fitness & Health

Warning! Bad posture can affect your health.

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There are plenty of reasons to maintain good posture, and doing so can benefit a person’s body and mind.

The main health risks of poor posture are aches and pains, which can occur right away or down the road, said Jill Henderzahs-Mason, a wellness physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program in Rochester, Minnesota. This discomfort may start in the neck or back, but ultimately, it may affect the hips or knees, she said.

People who exhibit bad posture also may be less efficient when they move, Henderzahs-Mason said. “They don’t move as well or as fast, and are predisposed to injury,” she said.

Posture in which the shoulders are hunched forward can even impact breathing, because the diaphragm and the lungs have less room to expand, and this narrows the airways, Henderzahs-Mason told Live Science.

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There are many other benefits of standing or sitting up straight. For one, it can help people appear taller and  feel better about themselves.

Psychology studies have suggested that slouchier postures make people look less confident to others, and even feel less competent, Henderzahs-Mason said. There’s also some evidence showing that people who walk with a slouched posture have a higher predisposition to depression than those who walk more upright, she noted.

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