It can be difficult to focus on your posture when you’re slumped over a desk from Monday through Friday. Not only does slumping at work make us tired; poor posture can lead to health issues, like carpal tunnel or cramping muscles.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, correct posture isn’t just for looks. It ensures that your bones, joints and muscles aren’t overused or overextended. It also helps us avoid injuries and protects our bodies from degenerative disorders, like arthritis.
So, how can we tackle poor posture before it becomes a problem? While you can work on trying to keep your back straight, chin up and body aligned, an easy way to improve your posture at work is by actually adjusting your environment.
Adjust your environment
There are few factors you can consider. When you’re sitting at a desk, you’re probably in front of a computer, in a chair, with a phone nearby. You likely also have a keyboard, a mouse, a container of pens or pencils and something to write on. Well, by paying attention to your use of each of these everyday items, you can actually improve your posture, as the Mayo Clinic alludes.
Here are some small tips for conquering healthier posture that’ll make a big difference:
Opt for a height-adjustable (standing) desk
There are a handful of benefits associated with not sitting in a chair all day, as Healthline reports. A standing desk is a great option if you—along with thousands of other office workers—suffer from back pain. Standing forces you to hold up your core, which naturally lengthens your spine.
If you want to sit, think about angles
Office chair technology (yes, really) has advanced significantly through the years. You can now pick out an “ergonomic”—meaning comfortable and efficient for your workplace—chair that supports your spine and adjusts for your height. Make sure to move your arm rests so that they support your elbows at a 100-degree angle while you’re typing. Your feet should be flat on the floor and legs should remain uncrossed. Also consider your gaze; your computer monitor should be directly ahead of you in your eye-line so that you’re not tilting your head down—which can actually shorten your neck muscles.
Keep things in reach
Anytime you’re going for a long reach to grab something across your desk, you’re stretching a muscle. And, you may be stretching it in the wrong direction. Keep items that you use frequently, like pens or paper, within a comfortable reach of your sitting position. If you can’t reach it comfortably, avoid overextending by standing up to grab it.
Take calls the futuristic way
One of the worst office practices that hurts your posture is cradling a phone between your neck and shoulder for an hour on a conference call. This bends your spine unnaturally, and is a one-way ticket to neck pain. Instead, choose a headset or headphones to take calls.
Avoid “text neck”
It’s a real thing! When you look down at your cellphone, your neck is having to support an extra 10-or-so pounds to accommodate your head. Holding your cellphone in front of you, rather than close to you, saves your spine from that extra stress.
Take a break (or seven)
Movement encourages healthier posture—and healthier muscles. If you can, take a break every hour and go for a quick walk around the office to get
your muscles moving and blood flowing. It’s also good for your mental health. If you’re even more ambitious, try getting into the habit of walking
at lunchtime. This will boost your heart rate and can even improve your overall health.
After you leave the office, you can continue improving your posture at a fitness class that focuses on lengthening your spine. Try out Balletone to work on your strength and flexibility, yoga to relax your mind and stretch your muscles, and Pilates to build up your core strength.Find a Group Exercise Class