Want to instantly look good and feel a whole lot better? It's as simple as standing up straight. Keeping your shoulders back is easier said than done, especially since we all have a tendency to hunch over our computers for hours a day.
In a perfect world, you'd naturally remember to keep your posture in tip-top form. But now, there's a new biofeedback belt called PosturePulse. Call it the Pavlov Effect: For $79, the device will emit a small vibration when you slouch for more than seven seconds. The thought is that you'll eventually train yourself to just hold a perfect posture, no matter if you're wearing the belt or not.
The makers of PosturePulse are currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to manufacture the devices. We're hoping they get there, because we need all the help we can get when it comes to posture.
Why is our posture so important? It's not only a cosmetic thing: Bad posture — characterized by slumped shoulders and a curved upper back — can negatively affect everything from your appearance to your physical fitness and mental health.
The reason? It puts unnecessary stress on the spine and doesn't allow your body to work the way it's meant to, according to Toby Green, D.C., an Omaha, Nebraska-based chiropractor. What bad posture can do, however, is create stress on the nerves that leads to serious neck pain, muscle pain and headaches.
The World Health Organization estimates that at least 47 percent of adults have suffered from a headache over the past year — a number that seems kind of low, given how often we complain about the pounding, throbbing feeling.
If you're like most people, you pop an aspirin — or three — and hope for the best. But the medicine doesn't fix the underlying problems that cause headaches in the first place, according to Dr. Green.
"Most headaches are caused by tension and stress on the body," he said. "Stresses can range from physical stress, like sitting at a desk or exercise, to emotional stress."
Your daily activities might seem mundane, but the things you do on a regular basis can cause your headaches. Sedentary activities — like sitting at a desk for several hours at a time — can actually contribute to your headaches because it puts undue pressure on your body. Your phone can also be the culprit: Leaning your head down for an extended period of time puts a ton of pressure on your neck and spine.
Sometimes recognizing your bad habits is enough to get you to change. But what happens when you think you're doing everything right, and you're still getting headaches? It might be time to bring in the pro, like the PosturePulse — or even a chiropractor — to help get your body back in the right alignment.
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