Ever been told to stand up straight or stop hunching? If you are anything like me, you probably spend up to 8 hours slouched in front of a computer. Obviously not so great for our posture. Whether you freelance from home or work in an office, there is no doubt sitting for hours in a day can take its toll. Having great posture has today become an art form. Therefore it is important to discuss a few simple ways to improve your posture.
While most of us are glued to our tech devices, we can only imagine these patterns becoming worse with time and age. And in the future jobs of our working lives. So what can you do to help improve your posture right now?
Poor Posture Symptoms
Here are some of the symptoms you can suffer from if you have poor posture
- Neck and back pain
- Tension headaches
- Nerve pain
- Hip pain from sitting too long
- Pot belly
- Other parts of your body can compensate for being out of alignment such as your hips or knees
- Twitching in your muscle fibres, these can be sharp nerve like shooting pains
- Tightness and stiffness in the neck and upper or lower back
- Rounded shoulders
The reason for addressing these issues relate to your long term health, this is why creating a better routine is vital. Sitting for long periods over many years can lead to higher blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Moving throughout the day can help even more than exercise.
Quite obvious but vital for having a balanced lifestyle. Humans are not designed to be seated all day, so moving for a minimum of thirty minutes should be added to your routine. Practice in particular stretching and strengthening your core muscles. Yoga or pilates is great to help you strengthen your core muscles. When you are at your desk stretch your neck by gently moving it side to side and doing gentle exercises. These can include arm stretches and standing to stretch out your back.
Engage your core when you sit or walk to improve your posture
Your core muscles actually help support your posture and lower back. When we slouch it also encourages our stomachs to loosen up while adding stress to the neck and upper back area. These muscles help you to maintain good posture and keep you standing straight. Use your leg muscles when lifting and engage your core rather than using your back to take the pressure.
Take regular breaks
Another obvious one, but more tricky to implement. Set a timer on the hour to stop what you are doing to walk away from your screen. Take a walk, toilet break or simply stand and stretch for a minute. It is also a good idea to alternate sitting with working standing up. There are various laptop and computer riser devices available. These are also known as a stand up desk converters.
Watch your sleeping position
When we relax generally our bodies are loosen up and our muscles let go. However if you sleep in an awkward position or have a bad cushion, it can leave you waking like Frankenstein. It is important to find a supportive mattress and cushion as well as adjust your neck and sleeping technique.
Invest in a good chair to help improve your posture
Although a good chair can cost, it is well worth the investment into your health with an ergonomic chair. Avoid sitting on a soft or unsupported chair and sit with your legs crossed at the ankle, rather than at the knee. Ensure your hips are pushed back into the seat support and feet are flat to the ground. This will put you in the right position to sit up straight. You should ensure your chair back is at 100 or 110 degrees for support. This will help prevent you from slouching and assist you with hip and pelvis alignment.
It is important to know your own body and how it feels. Take time to have a massage when you need it and stretch regularly to loosen any tension. Hold your head high when walking. Being confident and how you feel, deeply reflects your body language and posture.
An osteopath or Chiropractor can help with any posture issues.
Listen to your body and remember that the effects of sitting cannot be reversed. The small things that you can do today can help you immensely tomorrow. After all old age is hard enough, without any additional hunches, if you get what I mean.