We know work can be tiring – many cultures institute a required siesta at work in the afternoon due to the tiring effect the average workday has. But if you’re slouching in your chair and nodding off at your desk, you probably have poor posture. Your mother told you to sit up straight for a reason – studies indicate that poor posture reduces your energy, sours your mood, and can cut off your circulation.
Long-term bad posture can cause several health problems, including back pain, jaw pain, reduced lung function, and gastrointestinal issues. But what do you do to improve your posture if you’ve been living in the 9-5 world for awhile? Take charge now and implement easy fixes so you can properly train yourself to maintain proper posture at work.
Don’t Cross Your Legs
This one is simple – if you’re typing up a report and realize your legs are crossed under your desk, promptly uncross them. To correctly sit in a chair and maintain proper spine alignment, both of your feet should be planted flat on the ground, in line with your knees. If this stance isn’t feasible in your current desk arrangement or due to your height, lower your chair or prop your feet on something like a box or a stack of books.
Invest in a Support Pillow
Most chairs aren’t as ergonomically designed as their advertisements would have you believe. To incorporate the ideal spinal curve in your lower to mid-back to improve your posture, strap a lumbar support pillow onto your office chair to correctly align your back without consciously thinking about it. If you don’t have the dough to spend, a folded up bath towel will also do the trick in a pinch. Protect your back!
Stretch It Out
When you spend so many hours sitting forward, your back tightens and tons of strain goes to your neck. If you’re not careful, you’ll be bent over to the ground permanently by the time you retire! Fit in a few stretches while at work designed to reduce rounded shoulders and loosen up your shoulders. Wall angels are a terrific starting point – press your entire back, shoulders, and neck against the wall, legs slightly out, and press your arms against the wall next to you with your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Raise your arms up and down to feel the burn.
Skip the Chair
Many posture problems can be improved or avoided entirely by removing the sitting element from your workday entirely. Many options for standing desks now exist as a healthier alternative. If you use a Wurf board at your standing desk, your core will be activated all day so your muscles naturally relax. These micro-movements as you adjust on the Wurf board improve your posture on their own, without the need for additional exercises.
Step Away From Your Desk
Sitting for hours on end is a one-way ticket to poor posture. Break up your workday with small breaks so you can go for a walk and fit in some daily exercise. Take the stairs, or use a bathroom that’s farther away from your desk so you get more steps in per break. Ask your boss if you can have a walking meeting to get your heart rate up and your creativity flowing. There are numerous ways to incorporate movement into your day to work on your posture.
These tips aren’t difficult to implement – simply make tiny tweaks to your daily routine to save your back and improve your posture.