You don’t have to be a licensed chiropractor to know of the immense importance of having good posture. Sitting and standing with proper postural alignment impacts us more than we think. Lower back pain and headaches are reduced, energy levels and lung capacities are increased, circulation is improved and shoulder and neck tension are diminished to name just a few benefits.
Expectedly, sitting at a desk for eight or more hours a day can definitely take a toll on your body, especially if you’re not exercising on a daily basis (something health experts heavily recommend). In this article, we’ve compiled a list of things you can do to improve your posture at work.
Maintain Neutral Posture
Neutral body posture is the posture the human body naturally assumes, where the spine is aligned and the joints are not bent, so to prevent any body part from carrying any extra unnecessary tension. When sitting on a chair, maintain neutral body posture by keeping your knees at a ninety-degree position, having your hands, arms and wrists in-line and parallel to the floor, facing your head straight forward and keeping your elbows close to your body.
Practice Minor Chest and Shoulder Exercises
Try a ‘handclasp stretch’, where you stand up straight and take your arms from your sides to behind your back, clasping them together. You could also stand up straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together, holding this position for 10 seconds and repeating for 10 times. You could also loosen your shoulders up by lifting your shoulders in an up and down motion. What’s more, practising slow and mindful breathing where you inhale deeply, hold your breath for 3 to 5 seconds and exhale deeply can strengthen your chest and hence improve your posture.
Use a Lumbar Support Pillow
These types of pillows are great for getting you to sit with a good and recommended posture at work all while alleviating the discomfort of doing so. They are especially suitable for people who have a tendency to slouch and usually find it a bit more difficult to get used to maintaining a healthy posture. On the other hand, a quick fix would be using a rolled-up towel.
Staying active at the workplace may be difficult to do for some, but there are still some things you can do to maximise your daily physical activity. Set reminders for mini-walks around the workplace every hour or so. What’s more, make it a point to go for the stairs instead of the elevator and take as many breaks as you can to stand up and stretch your arms and legs. A lack of physical exercise tends to lower your blood flow, weaken your abdominal muscles and even decrease your life expectancy, so doing your utmost to stay fit is extremely important.
Uncross Your Legs
Crossing your legs or sticking them out in front of you is said to be bad for your posture. The correct way to sit on a chair is to place your feet straight on the ground. If this is uncomfortable, you can prop them up on a flat surface such as an empty box or a pile of thick books.
Be Aware of Your Back and Neck Pain
A key factor in improving your posture at work is to be aware of any feelings of pain or discomfort in your body, especially in your back and neck. Taking note of and keeping a record of this will help you understand which postures cause you discomfort and what you can start doing to prevent this from happening again. With enough monitoring, you may start to notice that your pain is better or worse at certain times or on certain days. You’ll also notice how different your body feels when you’re not at work, and what changes you can make to prevent pain.
Whether you choose to create regular alarms on your phone or stick a note on your desk, it is important to remind yourself to take regular movement breaks, to stretch your body and to sit correctly at your work desk. Remembering numerous details related to taking care of your body can be difficult for most, and there’s nothing wrong with making it as easy as possible for you to do so. Cultivating healthy habits at the workplace and everywhere else doesn’t happen overnight. The most important thing to do is to be patient and take it step by step.
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