Good posture is much more than just sitting up straight. Many people lead fairly sedentary lives. The workplace can be so demanding that we often spend the day sat slouched over the computer, with minimal breaks.
As time goes on, that good posture we are so well intended to keep, becomes harder and harder to maintain. Over time, these postural changes become more set as the body starts to adapt to and keep you in this posture.
Without scheduling regular short breaks, or actively working to combat these postural changes; good posture starts to be kept to a minimum as pain and discomfort start to increase.
The Impact of not keeping good posture.
Sitting is something that most people cannot avoid and even those who lead otherwise active lifestyles can suffer from postural problems on account of the extended hours they spend working at their desks.
The most commonly affected areas:
- Head is pulled forward of the body (looking at computer screens). This puts undue stress through the shoulders, affects your TMJ and leads to tension headaches.
- Arms constantly out in front of us. This shortens our pectoral muscles & puts additional stress through our shoulders. When we then go to exercise it can predispose rotator cuff injury.
- The seated posture places the greatest amount of gravitational force through the Lumbar Spine, overtime this leads to low back pain and potential SIJ issues.
- Your Hip Flexors, commonly known as Quads shorten over time, this puts extra strain on your knees & affects your hamstrings.
6 Stretches to encourage good posture.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to regularly perform a few stretching exercises which will do wonders for your good posture. These are all easy stretches you can do from home, and some even from the comfort of your desk.
#1 Relax Your Back
- Lie flat your back, bend your knees to 90-degrees, place your calves on top of the seat of an average-height chair.
- Now straighten both arms out from your shoulders keeping your palms up, so you are shaped like a T.
- Very slowly, relax, breathe deeply & let your lower back settle on the floor. Hold this position for 5-minutes
#2 Extend your arms
- Stay in the same position that you did for the “relax your back” stretch.
- Lace your fingers and palms together & extend both arms above your chest straight up towards the ceiling.
- Keeping your elbows stretched straight slowly extend your arms over your head towards the floor behind you.
- This stretch should be repeated a few times with a very steady and controlled movement
#3 Shoulder/Neck stretch
- Sit up nice and straight and drop your shoulders down, in a reverse shrug motion.
- Pick a side to start with placing one palm under the seat of the chair so it acts as an anchor. Slowly lean away from this side & gently take your other ear down towards the side of your shoulder. This will create a stretch on the side you are moving away from.
- Take the arm of the same side your ear is towards and gently pull on your head (not to strain you neck, but rather to lengthen the upper trapezius muscle you are stretching).
- Repeat on the other side. You can do this multiple times per day if you need.
#4 Chest stretch
- Standing in between a door way, place one arm out to your side in an L shape, at the level of your shoulder. Ensure the forearm portion of the L you have created is on the door frame.
- Now lean in through the door with your body, this will create a gentle stretch in your chest.
- Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side with your other arm on the other side of the doorway.
- You can repeat with your arm elevated to 45 degrees instead of 90, to catch deeper fibres for your chest.
#5 Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch
- Kneel on a padded floor and bring the right knee into a 90-degree angle.
- Lean forward so that your left leg which is behind you is at an angle at which you can feel the stretch in your hip front.
- Keep both legs in a parallel position & place your hands on top of your right knee.
- Let the hips sink towards the floor, all the while keeping your upper-body straight. Be sure to not just lean forward as you will not feel a stretch. Just hold for 1 minute & switch legs
#6 Cat stretch
- Position yourself on all fours on the ground with your pressure going through your palms and on your knees.
- Take big deep breath in and on the out breath, slowly round out your back as far as you are comfortable, hold for a couple of seconds and return to neutral.
- On the next big out breath, extend your back in the opposite direction and slowly also tilt your head up to the sky creating a concavity in your back.
- Repeat several breaths with several motions, always being careful never to move into a stretch that will be painful for you.
Postural imbalances can be effectively addressed and good posture encouraged by including these 6 stretches into your daily routine.
Be mindful of your breathing whilst you are working through them and when you get into a good routine of including these into your life you can then add in additional stretches to further improve your joint mobility to counteract being sedentary in the office.
If you have an injury that you feel might be preventing you from maintaining good posture at work or just in daily life, then Brett our Chiropractor is your man.
By addressing the injury and improving your biomechanics this can assist you in better ergonomics within your workplace as well as getting back to the fitness regime you love.
Ready? We make it easy for you, by having a 24/7 available online booking system for you to book in whenever you like.