How Bad Posture Makes You Look Much Older
Somewhere in our lives, we have all been told to sit up straight and corrected for bad posture. Most likely this was from a concerned parent or a vigilant grandparent. A bad posture causes many ailments, including chronic diseases, back pain, but one thing you may not have thought about is that it makes you look even older than you actually are. So it’s important to be aware of how your body is held while standing or sitting for extended periods.
As a general rule, it has been found that poor posture can accelerate ageing and make you appear older than you are. When we sit, stand, and sleep with our spine aligned, our muscles and joints will be relieved of strain. Furthermore, it helps strengthen your foundational muscles and back.
There’s more to who you are than what you look like on the outside. How your posture affects the inside is what really counts! Exercise and alignment correction is important if you want to stay pain-free and prevent looking like a bad slouch. By following my simple tips, which are easy enough even children can do them-you’ll find yourself feeling better right away with no fuss whatsoever!
Experts Explain How Posture Affects Aging
According to Dr David Arteaga MD, a board-certified facial surgeon I recently interviewed, “poor posture and bad sitting and standing positions accelerate the process of ageing.” Dr Arteaga also stated that ‘bad posture over time can lead to complacent patterns that can cause premature wrinkles in the places of tension, which can ultimately harden the skin, making the condition permanent’.
According to Dr Arteaga, postural and age-related shortening of telomeres is also linked to aging. Our cells are more vulnerable to breaking when they are shortened, causing them to die or worse, turn cancerous. The effects of shorter telomeres on lifespan have been extensively investigated, but no definitive answer has been reached yet.
In a recent interview, sleep expert Sinead Moore PhD told us that it’s no surprise we look and feel older if we don’t get enough sleep. Under the surface of our skin cells are ageing too and when you’re awake for one whole night your body can age even more! She went on to say ” Sleep-deprived individuals show signs of premature skin ageing and decreased ability in their skins’ resistance after sun exposure.”
I also interviewed Dr Bernadette McShane on my YouTube channel and she told me that ‘if you have a poor sleeping posture, you will not fully recover and your eyes can look dry or irritated which leads to inflammation around the eye area as well as developing permanent fine lines at the top of our eyelids.
How Poor Posture Ages You Faster
Sitting, standing or sleeping in poor posture for extended periods can negatively affect your nervous system, which can result in an earlier onset of ageing.
Let me explain why:
When the spine becomes misaligned, it will affect your nervous system and eventually cause problems such as pressure on nerves. You have to take care of spinal alignment before it gets worse so you can prevent irreversible damage!
The compressed spinal bones irritate the surrounding delicate tissues and nerves when they become crooked. A compromised nervous system will cause harm because your brain communicates with the rest of your body through the nervous system.
The muscles in your face and body may become weak or too tight. Inflammation can happen anywhere in the tissues that connect to the spine, like bones and discs herniating from poor posture.
What Causes Spinal Misalignments
The most common cause of spinal misalignments is some type of physical stress. This may include sitting in a slumped position, sleeping out of alignment, or moving incorrectly. The spine may also be stressed by auto accidents or repetitive motions.
Chemical or Emotional Contributors
When you are feeling stressed, sad or angry your body responds by tensing the muscles in order to protect itself. This can cause misalignment of spinal bones and lead to chronic pain. When we drink alcohol, eat too much-processed food with preservatives and take drugs our bodies react chemically which negatively affects muscle tone leading us towards a slouched posture that causes more back problems!
Signs & Symptoms of Poor Posture
You know that feeling when your back is out of alignment? Well, you may not even realize it until there are noticeable symptoms. That’s because misalignment can be taking its toll on the body before any warning signs appear! Here is what you should look for:
This is because when we spend too much time sitting at a computer or doing other activities that involve using only upper body muscles, the chest and shoulder area tighten up. This causes our shoulders to round forward which can lead to pain in these areas of your back as well as rotator cuff tears if not correct!
Pectoral muscle tightness occurs from excessive time spent sitting at a desk with rounded shoulders while neglecting strengthening exercises for the mid/upper back region.
Forward Head Posture
A forward head translation is when the neck leans forwards due to poor postures. This can happen when you are in front of a computer or using mobile phones too much. Over time this can lead to degenerative changes in your neck that create muscle imbalances which cause pain problems like nerve compression!
Poor posture can cause several different back problems, one being kyphosis. This condition causes the mid-back to lose mobility and become rounded, causing it to appear hunched. Kyphosis is most common among adolescents and young adults but often occurs together with forwarding head carriage or rounding shoulder blades as well (also from poor posture).
You know that feeling you get when your eyes are so tired, and it feels like someone’s pressing down on one of them? It can occur because the muscles in your neck need to exert themselves. The problem is often postural-related: we spend a lot of time looking at computer screens or tablet devices while slouching over with heads craned downward – all without realising how much strain this puts us under!
Sitting too much or sitting at a desk can cause tight hips. When your hip flexors are tense, it causes the pelvis to tilt forward and this creates pain that starts from the lower back all the way up to our upper back.
When you have poor posture, it can lead to muscle imbalances that result in pain throughout your upper body. For instance, a forward head carriage leads the work of holding up the increased weight of our heads against gravity to go through neck and back muscles more than usual. This causes stiffness all over and strains on these same parts because they are always working so hard!
Simple Ways to Improve Your Posture
If your posture is right, you can regain flexibility in your joints and take the burden off of your nervous system, allowing you to function better. You can access my downloadable ebook here to get you on the right path to success. Alternatively, here are a few quick tips that you start integrating seamlessly into your lifestyle right now:
How to Sit Correctly
Problem: Slouching is terrible for your back and posture. When you slouch, it puts a lot of strain on the muscles in your lower spine that can lead to soreness or pain. Slumping also makes people look older than they are by causing drooping neck skin folds that make your face seem more sunken-in and wrinkled around the eyes.
Solution: There are 2 easy ways to set up your office chair to avoid slouching without much thought:
- Get your seat height as high as possible while maintaining feet planted on the floor.
- Tilt the front of your seat down so that your hips are well above your knees.
When you sit in this posture, you will automatically lower your knees above your hips, thereby naturally alleviating any back pain. This upright posture with your hips above your knees also encourages your spine to assume a natural shape.
Here’s a Youtube video I made on how to sit correctly:
How to Stand Correctly
Problem: Standing up and bending forward creates a flat, low back as we slouch into our hips. We lean forward, putting strain on the neck, as our heads are carried forward as a result.
Solution: To stand tall, we need a strong core, back, and glutes. Here’s a simple trick that always works for my patients:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Unlock your knee and keep them unlocked always!
- If your knuckles are facing forward, rotate your hards so that your palms are facing forward.
I can almost guarantee that if you practice this tip for the next 4 weeks, you will look at feel fantastic!
How to Sleep Correctly
How do you avoid sleep wrinkles? Sleeping on the wrong mattress or pillow can cause wrinkles and premature ageing. One-third of your life is spent with your heads on a pillow, so it’s important to pick something that will benefit your health in the long run!
Side Sleepers – You can help relieve back pain and improve sleeping posture by using a pillow to support your knees when you sleep on the side. This is an excellent technique because it could keep your spine aligned, lessening lower-back pressure points too! To balance out body weight distribution in this position, try switching sides every so often.
Back Sleepers – Sleeping on your back is one of the most beneficial sleeping positions because it reduces tension in the back part of the body. However, if you have issues such as snoring or sleep apnea this position may not be ideal. Elevating your knees a few inches above your mattress and placing pillows beneath them can relax your pelvis which will release tension from the lower back.
Here is an article that I wrote on how to avoid wrinkles when sleeping. Additionally, I made a Youtube video on how to sleep properly:
Tips to Improve Your Facial Posture
Problem: You know how you get that terrible mood, and your face just looks so sad? Well, it’s because of the way you’re holding yourself. If you want to stay happy for as long as possible then take some time out from now on to make sure your face doesn’t look like this! Keep in mind that strange things happen with our muscles when they are tense or scrunch up too much which makes them less flexible over time.
Solution: Smiling more often and feeling your whole face open up will help prevent wrinkles! Have soft lips and feel your face warm up, and you won’t get wrinkles!”
Can Mewing Reshape Jaw Line?
Some clinicians believe that you can re-shape your jawline if you are deliberate about where to place your tongue in your mouth. People also claim a mewing tongue placement can help with sleep apnea or with chronic sinue issues.
Although I’ve heard of numerous anecdotal success stories about mewing, British orthodontist Dr John Mew’s theory does generate some plausible conclusions. For balance, here is a medical review debunking this practice.
How to Avoid a Dowager’s Hump
Dowager’s Hump is a condition that causes the spine to curve forward in an outward manner. The compression of vertebrae at the front and back gives rise to slouching, rounded shoulders, and a hump on one’s upper back.
The Dowager’s Hump is not a sudden development. It can start out as something that we call Buffalo Humps–a fatty deposit at the base of your neck resulting from leaning too much forward. Over time, this buffalo hump may be transformed into an even more pronounced dowagers hunch if you spend too long with bad posture and micro-fractures will develop in the spinal bones.
Here’s a YouTube video that I made on how to correct a Dowagers hump:
Kyphosis is when the spine curves forward from a normal S-shaped curve. It can cause pain and muscle weakness in your upper back, which makes it hard to do things such as reach up or sit for long periods without using something like an ottoman under your feet.
To prevent kyphosis due to weak bones, it is advisable to stay active and get the correct amount of vitamin D3 and K2. Calcium supplementation is best with dark leafy green veggies. Lastly, make sure that you implement the tips and exercises that I gave you above.
As we get older, our posture naturally starts to deteriorate. It’s important to be aware of how your body is held while standing or sitting for extended periods because this could make you look years more than you actually are.
To help keep yourself looking and feeling young, consider taking care of your back by investing in a quality ergonomic chair that will work for the hours that you spend at home or at work each day. The most useful guidance on ergonomic information can be found here on our blog!
- Weale, R. and Weale, M., 2012. The Dowager’s Hump: An Early Start?. Gerontology, 58(3), pp.212-215.
- Key, J., 2010. The Pelvic Crossed Syndromes: A reflection of imbalanced function in the myofascial envelope; a further exploration of Janda’s work. Journal of bodywork and movement therapies, 14(3), pp.299-301.
- Hershey, A.D., Winner, P., Kabbouche, M.A. and Powers, S.W., 2007. Headaches. Current opinion in pediatrics, 19(6), pp.663-669.
- Hartvigsen, J., Leboeuf-Yde, C., Lings, S. and Corder, E.H., 2000. Is sitting-while-at-work associated with low back pain? A systematic, critical literature review. Scandinavian journal of public health, 28(3), pp.230-239.