If you work in a career that involves a lot of sitting, it can be difficult to maintain perfect posture throughout the day. Studies have also show that bad posture at work can increase feelings of depression, zap your energy and cut off your circulation. Couple that with sitting for long periods of time, and you’ve got a health hazard on your hands. If you have an office job, it’s difficult to avoid the pitfalls of sitting and slouching. However, there are plenty of little tricks you can use to improve your posture gradually. The benefits of doing so are many: Perfect posture will decrease your potential for injury in the lower back, knees, ankles, shoulders, and elbows. It will increase energy and can even help you look leaner.
Use these tips to make sure that you’re sitting and standing straight:
1. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down. 2. Keep your ears in line with your spine. 3. Uncross those legs. 4. Get up and move around every 30-60 minutes or so. 5. Perform small shoulder, chest, and back mobility movements.
Daily life tends to cause us to sit at work, during transit, leisure time, and even while asleep. Tackling these four areas will go a long way toward round-the-clock perfect posture.
Posture at Work
So let’s start with setting your desk chair at the proper height so you can type without scrunching your shoulders up. I swear, 90% of desk/chair combos, in offices or in coffee shops have this ratio wrong. You want to sit in a chair at a height where you can sit with your shoulders relaxed and pulled back, you’re sitting up tall, and your forearms are parallel to the ground or lower, meaning you don’t need to reach up to your keyboard, nor shrug your shoulders. The brightness of the computer screen should be proportionate to the room. If it’s darker, decrease the brightness. Sitting for long periods of time is really terrible for the body. Your blood flows slower, abdominal muscles get weaker, bones get thinner due to inactivity and your life expectancy decreases. Unless you use a standing desk, it’s difficult to avoid sitting all day. If you’re stuck in a long meeting, reset your posture every 15 minutes. When you do so, squeeze the shoulder blades back and down as if trying to draw them into your back pockets. By activating the glutes, core, and shoulders, you’ll counteract the forces pushing your body into a hunched over position. An increasing number of companies are holding meetings standing up. This not only prevents people from hunching over in chairs, it inevitably makes meetings shorter and more productive.
Posture in Transit
Just as posture is important to a healthy back and muscular system when sitting at work, it is equally as important while driving. Sitting in a car for long periods of time can aggravate back and hip problems, or create new ones. Looking for certain features in a car so it fits your body, and modifying your posture while you are in it will go a long way making your driving experiences more comfortable. Adjust your mirror to where it should be when you have perfect posture, so that it will remind you to maintain perfect posture. Move the seat as close to the steering wheel as you can to maintain a proper back curve, and ensure your knees are even with, or higher than, your hips while you are seated. Check to make sure you have space between the backs of your knees and the edge of the seat while in a comfortable driving position.
Posture at Home
While watching tv make sure you get up during commercial breaks and move around or do some short mobility movements. If you’re watching your DVR and you fast forward through your shows, make sure you get up every 30 minutes and move around. If you just constantly think in terms of standing and resetting your posture throughout the course of the day, you’ll find it becomes second nature.
Posture While Sleeping
Many people overlook the importance of good posture while sleeping, but the way you sleep can affect your waking life in various ways, including your emotional and physical well-being. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping on your side or on your back are the best sleeping positions for good posture. When you sleep on your stomach, your spine is unable to reach a neutral position, resulting in strain on the back, neck, joints, and muscles. If you’re not able to get comfortable on your side or back, you can improve your posture by placing a pillow or cushion under your pelvis and lower abdomen.
Use the right pillow. Your pillow and how it’s used can make a big difference when it comes to sleeping positions for good posture. First of all, use a pillow that is not too soft or thick. Just like your mattress, you need a pillow that provides enough support so that your neck remains in a neutral position while you sleep. Be sure to keep the pillow underneath your head and neck, rather than under your shoulders. Try to avoid turning your head, instead opting for a back or side position that keeps your head facing straight.