So finally I would like to focus on how slouching affects your breathing.
You’ll notice that people don’t sigh when they sit slumped — they have to sit up to take a deep breath,’ observes Professor Stephen Spiro of the British Lung Foundation.
‘That’s because the lungs work best when we’re vertical. If you’re slumped forward you don’t fully breathe and ventilate the lungs, because they’re compressed and the diaphragm is coming up into the chest — so you won’t breathe as easily and efficiently.’
This can cause particular breathing problems for anyone with asthma or lung disease. ‘If you’re an asthmatic you probably don’t have bad posture because people are quite clever at correcting themselves,’ says Professor Spiro.
Physiotherapist Sammy Margo adds that slumping can mean less oxygen gets to the brain.
‘Slumped or C-shaped people complain of being tired and fatigued all the time and it’s because the lungs are squashed and cannot get enough air in, and the brain needs plenty of oxygen to function at its best.’
In addition, if you slumped you are breath with be short and shallow from your upper chest. In order to relax and digest food your body needs the parasympathetic nervous system to be dominant. A quick way to do this is to sit up right and take deep breaths and this simulates the parasympathetic system. So slumping may be contributing to you feeling anxious and finding it hard to relax and switch off when you leave work!