Better Posture for Desk Workers
Modern American office workers spend more than 40 hours a week sitting in front of a computer. That much sitting can take a toll on the body, especially if your posture is off.
Many people think that bad posture simply makes you look lazy. However, it also has a major impact on overall body health! Bad posture can contribute to lethargy and low energy. It can also impede your circulation, which causes digestive issues, cardiovascular issues, and other health problems throughout the body. Perhaps most notably, bad posture can contribute to cramps and pains in the body, from backaches to headaches. Bad posture puts strain in places you probably didn’t realize, whereas good posture relaxes the body and helps it to rest as it should.
As an extra bonus, good posture can make you appear more confident and happy, which can only benefit you in the professional world.
The trick with bad sitting posture is that because we’re sitting for so long, we stop relying on muscles to keep us in the proper place. Instead, we slouch and rely on our bones. That’s why exercises that strengthen the parts of your body that support good posture can help you feel more comfortable for longer in a proper seated position.
Tips for Good Posture
- Draw your ears back so they’re directly over your shoulders.
- Imagine a string from your shoulders to the ceiling, drawing you up.
- Keep both feet on the ground and let your arms rest on the desk, instead of keeping your shoulders bunched up.
- Don’t keep your back ramrod straight; that’s not actually the ideal.
Exercises to Maintain Good Posture
- Lift your shoulders up and down, scrunching them towards the ears and then resting them. You might also try rolling the shoulders, strengthening the back and shoulders.
- Roll your shoulder blades back, pinching them together at your back. Do this 10 times, relaxing between each roll.
- Raise your arms up into the air and interlock the fingers. Lean slightly right, and then left.
- Do chair twists by crossing the right leg over the left, then with your right hand on your knee, turn and look over your left shoulder. Reverse the posture and look over the other shoulder.
- Rock your neck. Lean your head forward, resting your chin on your chest, then gently roll one ear towards the shoulder, and then roll to the opposite side.
- Place the left hand on the left knee, and reach the right arm up overhead, leaning left and stretching over and to the left. Then do the stretch in the opposite direction. Make sure to lengthen your back before reaching and stretching.
- Stand and do a forward bend, bending at the hips and letting your arms and head drop down towards your feet. Even better, do triangle pose. Step one foot back, and then with your hips squared, bend forward with your arms folded behind your back. Let your head drop down and stretch out your back and legs.
- Roll your pelvis. From your sitting position, tilt your hips forward, rounding out the back, and then tilt the hips back, feeling the arch in your spine. This will counter lower back pain, one of the most common complaints of desk-sitters.
Stretch your chest. Stand in a doorway with your arms holding to each side. Lean forward, stretching out the chest and breathing into the pose.
Exercising outside of the office can also help your posture and achiness. Try yoga. Even basic sun salutations can go a long way in stretching out your neck and back, and strengthening back and core muscles that support good posture.