7 Deadly Posture Sins

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Bad posture isn’t just hunching over — though it’s definitely number 1 on our list of postures to avoid. There are a multitude of bad habits and positions that are harmful to your back (and we’re all guilty of them too). Read on to find out what the 7 most deadly posture sins are so you can avoid the risk of  pain, injury and trips to the doctor.


1. Hunching Forward

7Deadly_icons-01Avoid hunching over with your head tilted down and your back rounded at all cost — this is the deadliest of postures for your spine. This position, also called “text-neck”, is referred to by the posture conscious community as the new smoking and is wreaking havoc on your spine (it also leads to hunchbacks!).

Being in good posture is obviously the best solution and the healthiest choice, but this isn’t always possible. If you can’t be in A+ posture all day long, remember that there’s bad posture, and then there’s worse posture. Especially during the times you are relaxing, opt for reclining back instead of hunching over and never sit or stand with your head hanging forward.

2. Sitting with Your Legs Crossed

7Deadly_icons-02We admit, this is the position of choice for many of us when we sit, especially women.

But here’s why it’s deadly: when you cross your legs, your pelvis rolls forward and “unstacks” your spine. This puts pressure on your lower back and forces you to slightly lean to one side (the side that the leg is crossed over) causing an imbalanced pelvis.

Try it out if you don’t believe us — it’s actually difficult and uncomfortable to keep your spine stacked while crossing your legs.

Fun Fact: Many of us cross our legs out of habit, and we subconsciously will always opt to cross the same leg over the other. Similar to whether you’re a righty or a lefty, some research suggests that our leg of choice for crossing might be related to which side of our brain we engage most often.


3. Not Moving

7Deadly_icons-03So maybe your back hurts already (probably because of poor posture!) or you’re just really busy and don’t have time to move around. Being sedentary is actually just as harmful to your body as having poor posture.

Getting up and moving around even for a short while, like to the water cooler, or bathroom breaks, shakes out your muscles and releases built up tension in your body. One of the most common myths about back pain is that when your back hurts, you shouldn’t move it.

Staying active keeps your fluids moving around and lessens the amount of lactic acid build up in your muscles and spine, helping you keep the pain away.

Related: 10 Easy Tips to Up Your Daily Step Count

4. Hyper-extending

7Deadly_icons-04A rounded back is damaging— but overarching your spine in effort to have good posture is equally harmful to your body.

The goal is to have a neutral, stacked spine to maintain the natural curvature of your back that most effectively protects your muscles and joints from straining.

To get into good posture, imagine your head is being pulled up by a string. Lift your chest slightly and draw in your abdominals. Keep your shoulders down and back, and your chin tucked in. You’re aiming for a strong, confident position!
Read more about other ways to get into good posture.

5. Lifting with Your Back

7Deadly_icons-05We’ve all heard this one before, but the fact remains true — lifting with your back causes tremendous strain on your spinal muscles, and depending on how heavy the object you are lifting is, you could end up injuring your back.

Regardless of how much you work out, your spinal muscles by nature will always be smaller and weaker compared to the muscles on your legs (trust us, it would look creepy if they didn’t).


Your legs are more equipped to handle weight so get in the habit of lifting with your legs, even for smaller, lighter objects. This way, when you do end up having to lift a heavier object, you won’t accidentally lift with your back and hurt yourself.

6. Heavy Bags

7Deadly_icons-06We know this is a tough one to avoid, especially if you have lots of equipment you need for work. But those one-shoulder strap computer bags, handbags, briefcases and gym bags are deadly to your posture when it’s loaded up with extra weight. A bag should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight.

Here’s why: shoulder strap bags, by design, put pressure on one side of your trapezius, an important muscle in your shoulders that’s related to a number of troubles like stiff necks, headaches, upper back pain, etc. Putting this kind of pressure (especially when carrying lots of things) is bad enough, but the extent of damage doesn’t end here.

The weight of your bag naturally pulls your body down sideways, causing you to lean to one side. To compensate, you may try leaning to the other side to balance out your upper body. This puts all kinds of strain on your back and may lead to pain and injury.

If possible, always try to carry your things in a backpack where the weight is equally distributed to both sides to your body. If not, split your belongings into two bags, and at least try to balance out the weight so that you’re not walking around lopsided.

7. Unequally Distributed Weight

7Deadly_icons-07Whether you’re sitting or standing, it’s easy to catch ourselves leaning to one side – even at a standing desk. Putting all of your body-weight onto one side of your body forces your spine to curve sideways in an unnatural way and puts strain on your lower back and hip area.

As comfortable as it may be to stand on one leg or lean to one side on your chair, make sure to equally distribute your weight onto both sides of your body.


Start your positive habit change today with Lumo Lift

Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.


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Ellie Kulick

About Ellie Kulick

Ellie specializes in all things content and communications at Lumo BodyTech. Her passions are in tech, writing and in health. She loves to create and share content that is useful and easily digested by the reader. BS in Psychology, Northeastern University. Find Ellie on Twitter.


  • delani4

    Great article, and it’s true. I had an extremely bad back problem 4 years ago, & the pain got so bad that I ended-up in urgent care almost screaming. Seeing several doctors the next few days after that, told me what was wrong: I was sitting wrong, walking wrong, lifting wrong, and my handbag’s total weight was 17 lbs. After physical therapy and chiropractic help, I am 3/4 back to normal, but will never be the same as before all this. What your article says is true, and it caused my back and posture problems.

  • Karen E Tharp
    Karen E Tharp

    My doctors and I are baffled at what could be causing unexplained swelling in both of my upper thighs. Is it possible that constantly sitting with my legs twisted funny and crossed at the age of 51 could be contributing to it? I have been sitting like this my entire life and I don’t even realize that I am doing it.

  • Donna Raub
    Donna Raub

    I am SO guilty of #7 – Putting all of my body-weight onto one side of my body. Any time I am standing I shift my weight to my right leg. I have done this for so many years it affects how I walk. I am not even aware when I do it. My physical therapist was the one who pointed it out. I got the Lumo Lift to help break my habit of slouching and it is amazing how much it helps. I wish your company would come up with something similar for the lower body; like a little “level” that you wear and when you shift your weight to one side it would vibrate. Those habits are sure hard to break after 60+ years. I love my Lumo Lift for exactly that reason.

  • Isaac segun
    Isaac segun

    Interesting article, i was a victim of bad posture for many years. It’s very easy to destory things but difficult to create or rebuilt. When i was young, due to the above fact that i didnt take note and whenever my parent corrected me i felt like they are too harsh at me, not knowing that they’re trying to help me out. Until my body framework stif to one side before i got to know. It is good to be mindful of our posture relating to our daily activities. Now, i trying to improve my posture through exercise. Although, it’s not easy but things are getting beter.

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