Surprising Side Effects of Slouching

July 29th, 2014
by Kathy Kres, YAH & Water Aerobics Director, Personal Trainer

The shoulders-rolled-forward effect of too much time hunched over your desk (also associated with overactive pectorals and anterior deltoids) can do more than give you a slouched look. Studies have connected poor posture to:

  • Depression. A 2012 San Francisco State University study published in the journal Biofeedback found that a slouched posture can increase feelings of depression.
  • Higher Stress. Harvard Business School researchers have found that people who slouch have lower testosterone levels and higher cortisol levels than people who stand in more powerful poses-both of which are signs of stress.
  • Low Confidence. The same study found that slouched posture-and the associated hormonal shifts-also leads to low self-confidence.

The good news: Research has shown that standing in a more erect, open position (straight and tall with hands on hips, for example) for as little as two minutes can create a positive changes in mood and stress levels.  Specifically, it can increase testosterone by about 20% and decrease cortisol by about 25%. Posture matters-in more ways than you think.


Excerpted from The Training Edge magazine