Surprising Side Effects of Slouching

May 9, 2014 Rebecca Tully

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 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.