Shoulders back, chest out. Your mom has told you a million times and, believe it or not, she’s not just saying it to nag—she actually has good reasons. Slouching not only makes you look less attractive, it can also affect your health. And, look around your office, most cube workers are guiltily of bad posture. “People who sit at a desk for a long period of time tend to roll their shoulders in and hang their head forward,” says Dr. Jason Queiros, a Chiropractor at Stamford Sports and Spine in Connecticut. “Every inch you hold your head forward, you add 10 pounds of pressure on your spine. Let’s say you’re leaning into your monitor by just two inches, that’s 20 extra pounds that your back and spinal column have to endure.” How much damage can those 20 pounds cause? Lots! But we are here to help. There are also some easy stretches you can do to help correct your slouch, which we list after the ailments bad posture can cause.
Constantly holding that extra 20-pound weight forces your neck and back muscles to work overtime. “They become overused and tired,” says Queiros. Then, when you finally relax them (say, at home after work), the muscles tense up and could spasm, causing nasty tension headaches.