Posture expert reveals the side effects of sucking in your stomach, results will shock you!

For decades, people have felt immense pressure to have a toned stomach. Picture: Athena/Pexels

For decades, people have felt immense pressure to have a toned stomach. Picture: Athena/Pexels

Published Aug 4, 2023


We've all been there – deleting pictures because our fupa wasn't sitting right or cringing at those comments from friends telling us to "suck it in mamas" when taking photos.

Society has ingrained in us the idea that we need to look like supermodels with perfect figures, and it's easy to become our own biggest critics.

But have you ever considered the physical effects of constantly sucking in your stomach to appear thinner? A posture expert has recently shed light on this topic, revealing that it's bad for your neck.

For decades, people have felt immense pressure to have a toned stomach. In America, body dissatisfaction is at an all-time high, with more than a third of adults not being very happy with their weight, according to a current body image YouGov tracker.

Furthermore, one in two Americans believe that physical appearance matters a great deal in today's society. It's no wonder that the desire to appear thin, especially in photos, has become a source of stress for many.

Erika Weiss, a posture and wellness expert at Issa Yoga, explains the dangers of constantly sucking in your stomach.

She points out that while it may be a reflex at this point, there are long-term repercussions associated with "stomach gripping". By holding significant tension in one part of your body for an extended period, you are putting strain on your neck and potentially causing damage.

Weiss points out that while many people are aware of “hourglass syndrome” after it began trending on TikTok last year, they may be unaware of the lesser-known consequences of sucking in your stomach.

Not only does it cause a muscular imbalance in your core that can make you develop creases in your abdomen, it can also put excessive pressure on both your pelvis and lower neck.

This is because your abdomen plays a key role in how you stay balanced when you move during the day, but gripping your stomach muscles means all your energy is going to one area, causing inequality.

You wouldn’t tense one muscle for the entirety of a workout, so we shouldn’t do this with our stomach either – especially for vain reasons.

“When you suck in your stomach excessively, you unknowingly put strain on your clavicle and lower neck, resulting in aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, and back. But that's not all.

“Over time, this can even alter the natural curve of your spine due to the shortening of your abdominal muscles caused by the increased tension. It's like how humped necks form, due to chronic bad posture,” said Weiss.

She pointed out that while some of the long-term effects of stomach gripping may be irreversible, depending on the duration of the problem, there were steps you could take to prevent further issues.

“One effective approach was incorporating muscle-relaxing exercises, like yoga, into your routine. This ancient practice helps to stretch and relax the muscles that become tense throughout the day, providing relief for those experiencing increased lower neck pain.

However, it's important to approach yoga mindfully. Focus on low-impact moves that gently bend your spine without adding unnecessary stress to your already sore muscles.

The goal is to strengthen them, not strain them further. Rushing into yoga without considering its suitability for your unique needs can worsen existing back problems and leave you feeling even more sore, the yoga expert warns.

Weiss claims that one of the biggest mistakes that yoga beginners make is to jump right in. She believes that this is because "many follow the most common or most popular routines without considering their suitability, which can exacerbate back issues and cause more soreness.

“Unless you’re experienced, it’s best to stick to the following moves that can alleviate neck and upper back pain – but make sure you don’t push yourself too much at the start.” She recommends the following moves as a starting point:

Standing forward bend

Also known as “Uttanasana”, this pose also stretches your hamstrings and is beneficial for relieving stress. Start in the Raised Hands Pose before sweeping your arms down on either side and folding forwards from your hips.

Bring your fingertips in line with the toes, and press your palms flat. Let your head hang loosely and inhale slowly on the way back up.

Warrior II Pose

Start in the Mountain Pose and take a big step back with your left leg, toes pointing inwards. Press your feet down, and firm your legs before raising your arms outwards parallel to the floor.

Make sure that you keep your shoulders down to lengthen your neck and bend your right knee so that it aligns above your ankle. Press down through your toes to promote balance and hold.

Extended triangle pose

To come into this pose, stand facing the long side of your mat with your feet apart. Turn your right foot out so that your toes point to the short edge of the mat, and turn your left toes in.

Roll your right thigh out before extending your body and lifting your arms parallel to the floor. Point your left arm to the ceiling and ensure your neck aligns with your spine.

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