Our jobs can sometimes feel all-consuming, which makes it easy to forget about our posture while we’re working. Poor posture inhibits your body’s circulation of oxygen, blood and other nutrients throughout your spinal system, which can sap your energy and focus. Over time, poor posture strains your spine, neck, head and shoulders – which can bring on joint pain, backaches and headaches. Improving your posture while you work is critical, not only for your general health and well-being, but also for your productivity and brainpower.
Here are five things you can do today and every day to improve your posture at work:
Sit up properly
When we sit slumped over the computer, our body takes in less oxygen and we’re doing damage to our body’s ability to keep our energy going. Be aware of your unbalanced postures throughout the day, such as leaning to one side, hunching your shoulders or tilting your head – even sitting with your legs crossed can take its toll. Any prolonged sitting position, even a good one, can be tiring. It’s important to sit back and let the chair do its job of supporting your spine.
Take a break to stretch
Regular stretching for just a minute or two every hour helps your back and reduces the risk of repetitive motion injuries. Try this move while seated at your desk - with your hands behind your head, lean just slightly over the back of the chair, engaging your core. Be careful not to press with your neck. Hold for a moment, then relax forward and repeat. This movement will help your upper spine be more fluid, which makes it easier to hold good alignment.
Try a standing desk
Research has shown that sitting all day long can lead to serious health issues over time, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. On the other hand, standing all day can also cause problems with your knees and feet. Consider alternating your time between sitting and standing with a portable, height-adjustable addition to your desk
. And remember to take regular mini walks – to the break room, the bathroom, or up and down a flight of stairs.
Make time to breathe
Controlled breathing exercises can increase your focus, lower your blood pressure and help you relax. Try this breathing technique a few times a day while sitting or standing - align your spine and inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four, all through the nose, and repeat. Keeping your body aligned as you breath promotes the delivery of oxygen to your brain.
To instantly improve your posture while sitting or standing, roll your shoulders down and back, then pull your elbows back toward your back pants pockets. Make use of ergonomic desk accessories to maintain normal spinal curves while seated. When you’re standing, pay attention to how your weight is distributed - try to stand on each foot evenly. Keep a small diagram of good posture
on your desk to remind you to break bad habits.
Improving your posture at work can help you make better decisions, boost your productivity, and reduce your overall stress. Keep at it - bad posture habits can be so ingrained that it takes constant vigilance to improve them.
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