Fix Your Office Posture
Updated: Jan 16, 2019
The office, for many of you, is where most of your waking hours will be spent each day. For this reason it's essential that you do not neglect your posture during this period. Doing so can lead to negative implications to your physical performance, cardiovascular health, sleep quality and general wellbeing.
While in the seated position, it's very easy to become lazy with our posture. As we begin to slouch, the shoulders will internally rotate, in turn placing the pecs into a shortened position and our thoracic spine (upper back) into flexion. This will lead to extension of the cervical spine (neck) creating unnecessary pressure around the neck, all on top of the unavoidable shortening of the hamstrings and hips.
As if spending your 9-5 (or longer) in this position wasn't already bad enough, most of you will either be sitting on the train (or standing with equally poor posture) or sitting in the car to and from your place of work. And you wonder what's been causing all that back and neck pain...
Fortunately there are steps you can take to combat this bad habit, and even begin to improve your posture. Below I've outlined some of the changes you can begin to implement straight away to make bad posture and all the aches and pains that come with it, a thing of the past.
Whilst In The Office
- Swap your office chair for an ergonomic alternative. They provide greater support and promote better posture, and if you're spending upwards of 8 hours a day in the same chair then it'll be a more than worthwhile investment (although it's still worth asking your boss to pay for one first).
- Create yourself a standing work station. If you don't want to fork out for one, you can simply prop you monitor/laptop up to an appropriate height with anything that'll do the job.
- Avoid prolonged periods of sitting. Aim to get up and move every 30 minutes, even if it's just to do a lap of the office or to get some water. Doing so will also improve circulation and has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Outside Of The Office
- Stretch and mobilise daily. Pay special attention to your pecs, hip flexors and hamstrings as these are the muscle groups shortened to the greatest extent whist sitting. Attending a yoga class could be beneficial for those of you who always 'forget' to stretch.
- Book in for a sports massage. For those of you who have already surpassed the preventative stage, a sports massage therapist will be able to work out all of those knots and set you on your way to a pain free posture.
- Exercise more. Focus on strengthening your posterior chain in particular, as the upper back and glutes will typically become very weak when subjected to prolonged periods of sitting. Think hip thrusts, deadlift variations and any upper body pulling movements.
Bottom line - Take care of your posture before it takes hold of you!