A healthy posture is important during movement and weight-bearing activities, as it helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments. Healthy posture also allows our muscles to work more efficiently.
Poor posture and poor movement patterns can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles. It may even cause them to relax when held in certain positions for long periods of time. This places more stress on other areas of the body, ultimately leading to injury or chronic pain patterns.
How do I correct my posture?
For starters, awareness of your posture, along with an understanding of healthy movement strategies, will help you be more conscious; therefore, you will be able to correct yourself, forming good habits.
A few tips to get you started:
Be aware of how you are sitting or standing. Watch crossing your legs, if you are leaning, or if you are shifting your weight to one side. Ask yourself, “are my shoulders back and pulled down? Am I keeping my head in line with my body?”
If you are working on a computer or at a desk all day, make sure to take breaks every hour to get up, walk around, stretch, and promote blood flow throughout the body.
Perform shoulder rolls, doorway stretches, neck circles/stretches, wrist mobility (carpal tunnel). If sitting for periods of time, perform hamstring and hip flexor stretches. Try holding each stretch for about 15- 30seconds to give the muscles a chance to elongate.
Adjust your work area.
Get a standing/moveable desk if possible. Make sure your computer isn't so high or low that it is putting stress on your cervical spine. Get a better chair, one that promotes good posture to avoid slouching. When possible, use the speaker phone if multitasking to avoid using your shoulder to hold the phone up to your ear.
When work is busy you can feel the need to power through; however, taking a break provides mental clarity, as well as physical relaxation. On your break, step away from your desk and rest your eyes from staring at the screen. This can help to avoid tension headaches.
Go ahead and gives these suggestions a try! You won’t be sorry!