Do you work in an office? For many, the Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm traditional workweek is a reality that leaves you sitting in a chair looking at a computer screen for uncomfortable amounts of time. This "office slump" can lead to back pain, soreness, and a habit of bad posture.
Practicing good posture at the workplace will help you keeps your joints in correct alignment, decrease stress on ligaments, prevents muscle fatigue and strain, and even decrease the risk of developing arthritis.
Not only does good posture help physically, it looks good too! People with good posture look more confident, stronger and happier. Here are some easy tips to help your back, posture, and overall health at the office.
Proper Posture at Your Desk
As you may have guessed, one of the biggest contributing factors to office back pain is poor posture while seated at the desk. You know what good posture looks like but it's often easier said than done. Here are some beneficial methods to implement and remind you of the posture you should have:
1. Breathe From The Belly
You may recognize this from your yoga instructor, but remember to always breathe from the belly! Drawing your navel in towards the spine supports the upper body muscles and engages the core.
2. Keep Your Mouse Close
Avoid reaching and straining the wrist and shoulders. Try to have your mouse directly beside the keyboard and at an accessible distance from your arm.
3. Align Your Head
Although sometimes it can be hard to see what's on the computer in front of you, it’s important to keep your head up and aligned with your neck above the shoulders. This helps to prevent straining of the neck and maintains proper posture.
4. Plant Your Feet
Have both feet planted on the ground while sitting to prevent tension in your knees and ankles. For even better positioning, make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart and knees are at a 90-degree angle.
5. Take A Break
Taking a moment to stretch or walk around is essential for not only your back, but your sanity. Try stretching every 20-30 minutes and getting up completely every hour. This will help boost circulation in the body and reduce any tension or pressure you may feel while sitting.
6. Use a Headset
Trying to cradle your phone with your shoulder while typing out an email may sound efficient, but can actually lead to extreme pain in your neck. Instead, use a headset or speakerphone to save you that awful soreness.
7. Uncross Your Legs
Some people find sitting cross-legged to be more comfortable but it's a detriment to your spine. When your legs are crossed it's difficult to keep your shoulders square and your spine straight. Excessive twisting can strain the back, pelvis, and puts you at risk for varicose veins by interrupting the blood flow.
Take a Break to Workout
In addition to proper posture, a quick walk, and basic stretches during your breaks try incorporating some of these desk-friendly exercises to get those muscles moving and your heart pumping.
Stand in front of your desk, back facing the computer and place both hands on the desks beside you. Place feet on the ground together and bend your arms to dip yourself down and then raise back up. Complete 3 sets of 10 tricep dips.
Sitting tall in your chair, lift one hand towards the ceiling behind your back and the other down towards the ground on your back, for both hands to meet each other. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and complete for each arm.
While seated in your chair, put your hands behind your head and reach one elbow to the opposite knee, twisting your body as well. Then meet the other elbow and knee as well. Try 15 twists per side.
Sitting in your chair, grasp each side of the chair with your hands and straighten one leg out. Once straightened, lift the leg slightly up 1 inch and then down 1 inch. Do this exercise for each leg and lift 15-20 times.
Find an open wall area in the office. Slide back down against the wall until your knees are at a 90 90-degreegle. Stay in this position for 30-45 seconds and then release. Complete the wall sit 1-3 times. For an extra challenge switch off lifting one heel up and then the other heel up until time is reached.
As you can see there are so many different ways you can incorporate and practice good posture at the office. Use these daily tips to maintain proper posture for the back, neck, and other muscles as you build strength and encourage blood flow. You spend so much time at the office, be sure it's a productive environment for not only your work but your body.