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Bad Posture: How it Affects Your Breathing

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Bad posture can negatively impact your life in so many ways, including your breathing. And breathing, as you know, is absolutely essential for human life. Before we examine how bad posture affects your breathing, you need to understand how poor posture arises in the first place.

Bad posture arises because of two main reasons:

1. Your tonic muscles, responsible for holding your posture, constrict and tighten over time if you do not stretch them periodically.

2. Your phasic muscles, used for dynamic movement, weaken and lengthen.

Our bodies were not designed for sitting for long periods. Nowadays, we spend so much time crouched over a computer either at work or at home on the Internet. Before you know it, you develop a slouch. Over time, the slouch gets worse. This is one of the most common ways to develop poor posture.

The problem with bad posture is that your body seeks to maintain some kind of balance, so it compensates for your bad posture by making it worse. For example, if you have forward head posture, your hips move forward to compensate for the added weight of your head and eventually you get bent out of shape.

So exactly how does bad posture affect your breathing?

Have you ever tried sitting in your chair, leaning forward and breathing? Poor posture results in restricted, shallow breathing and will affect your energy levels and productivity. Add to this the stress that we all have to endure in our daily lives and you have a recipe for disaster. The resultant tight muscles in your upper body are like a giant elastic band around your chest. To breathe correctly, your diaphragm has to more upwards and outwards. The tight muscles restrict this movement and prevent you from breathing effortlessly. This is not normal - breathing is supposed to be automatic, deep, easy and balanced.

Not breathing correctly can upset your normal body chemistry. Your blood oxygen and blood carbon dioxide levels begin to fluctuate under stress and certain organs systems become affected. This manifests itself in panic, anxiety and stress.

Breathing badly can lead to an increase in your heart rate, blood pressure, muscle pain and blood circulation. Some of the symptoms associated with bad breathing are pains in your hands, feet and muscles, dizziness, shortness of breath, pins and needles, pain over the heart and shaking. The list goes on.

We all know that we will die if we do not breathe, but exactly what is it that oxygen does for us?

Quite simply, your body requires food (in the form of appropriate nutrition) to produce energy so that your body can function. These nutrients are "burned" by your cells and in the process, the cells produce carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is toxic and needs to be expelled by the body.

Oxygen plays a critical role on this "cycle of life". This is how it works.

When you inhale, the oxygen in the air is absorbed into your bloodstream through alveoli, tiny sacs in your lungs. When the oxygen enters your blood, a passing protein molecule (called hemoglobin) collects the oxygen. Each molecule of hemoglobin can transport four molecules of oxygen. This oxygen is then transported to all parts of your body and is used by your cells to make water, an essential requirement for life. Your cells make two molecules of water out of every molecule of oxygen that is delivered to it by the hemoglobin.

When this conversion process occurs, energy is released. Your cells then use this energy to perform the everyday functions that your body needs. The toxic by-product of this conversion, the carbon dioxide, is then removed from your body by the oxygen.

As you can see, oxygen is critical to your health and the smooth-running of your body. Proper breathing is essential to get the oxygen to your lungs and to expel the toxic carbon dioxide.

Bad posture can easily hold your breathing hostage and seriously impede the amount of oxygen you get and this is detrimental to your health.

Fortunately, you can correct bad posture. One way is to stretch often, and one of the best ways to stretch is to use a posture cushion specifically designed to reverse bad and forward head posture.

There is an old proverb: "Life is in the breath. He who half breathes half lives." So improve your posture now - live life to the fullest!

Bernard Brown is the CEO of Posture Pal, the world's #1 posture support. Posture Pal is endorsed by some of the world's leading posture experts. Visit their web site now to learn how to improve posture.

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