Unfortunately many of us get into bad habits over the years and some simple tips can help improve your posture. Poor posture affects the biomechanics of the body, leading to chronic muscle and joint strains and ultimately pain or tissue damage. It can also affect the other body systems leading to a whole range of symptoms.
Try these exercises while you’re working at your desk, sitting at the dinner table or walking around.
1) The shoulder roll: Many of us tend to scrunch our shoulders forward, so our arms are in front of our bodies. To correct this, gently pull your shoulders up, push them back and then let them drop — like a shoulder roll. Now your arms should dangle by your side, with your thumbs pointing out.
2) Lengthen your spine: Being careful not to arch your back, take a deep breath in and grow tall. Then maintain that height as you exhale. Repeat: Breathe in, grow even taller and maintain that new height as you exhale. Initially this will feel hard work but with practice will become easier and strengthen the core support muscles. Relax your shoulders down without loosing any of this new height in your spine.
Put 1 and 2 together to sit up straight do a shoulder roll to open up the chest and take a deep breath to stretch and lengthen the spine. Pull your belly button in towards your spine to engage (contract) the core muscles.
3) Squeeze, squeeze your gluteal (buttock) muscles when you walk & move: To find these muscles sit tall and then squeeze your buttocks together. Too much sitting makes these important support muscles lazy. As you walk try to squeeze these same muscles as you take each step.
4) Tuck your chin in: Add length to your neck by taking a lightweight object, like a bean bag or folded washcloth, and balance it on the crown of your head. Try to push your head against the object in an upwards direction, keeping the neck straight but lengthened and chin tucked in.
The key is to get into the correct posture and then relax into it, so that you can maintain it.
There is a wealth of helpful information online on how to sit and how to position yourself and your equipment. If you search “Ergonomic desk set up” you can find lots of useful websites, such as:
Please see the image below for a summary of the main things to consider and adjust your set up accordingly.
Finally movement is the key to avoiding postural problems and improving posture.
Avoid sitting for long periods.
Ideally get up every half hour and move your body for 2 minutes. As a minimum get up and move every hour for 2-5 minutes.
If you are doing the above and still suffering from discomfort, it is worthwhile consulting an osteopath who can assess your posture and check for any other reasons that could be affecting your well being.
Contact Us to make an appointment.