In our current climate where many are working from home and perhaps at a less than ideal office station, your posture is important to avoid fatigue, pain and other long-term health issues.
These issues can prevent you from performing at your best and have a chronic negative impact on your wellbeing if left unchecked.
Don’t think it’s that big of a deal in the scheme of things?
Let’s look more closely at the understated impact of proper posture…
The good the bad and the uncomfortable
We have all been told at some point – ‘sit up straight!’, ‘stop slouching!’, ‘straighten your shoulders!’
Whether you were told by your parents, a teacher or that relative you just couldn’t avoid, despite your best efforts… they all seem aligned with ensuring you corrected your posture – in real time.
Let’s look at what they probably knew all along…
Some of the benefits of having good posture include:
- Less tension, pain and wearing of the joints – poor posture puts abnormal strain and stress on the body.
- Fewer headaches and less fatigue – these can be caused by tension and pain, especially in the neck and shoulders from prolonged desk work.
- Better circulation and digestion – a slouched position can be the result of a weak core. This results in your organs being squeezed together, such as your abdomen and intestines.
Having good posture is more than just sitting or standing correctly. In today’s technological world the majority are sitting more, standing less and walking insufficiently.
Sitting more than eight hours per day can cause serious health problems…sitting incorrectly for more than eight hours per day will accelerate these problems.
Follow these steps to ensure you have the correct posture when sitting:
- Apart from the obvious of having an ergonomically designed chair, consider the space behind your knees and the edge of the seat. It should be about one to three inches of space to avoid pressure on this point.
- Both feet should be flat on the floor. If this is not possible, then consider investing in a footstool to provide support.
- Aim to take a short break every 30 minutes. This will help you realign your entire body. Also, your metabolism slows down significantly after 30 minutes of continuous sitting which can have a negative impact on your thinking power.
Let’s look at the power of standing…
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Although standing is a better option to sitting, it may be uncomfortable or not possible for some.
If you are able to stand while working, consider doing so. If you find standing uncomfortable, simply shorten the duration you are in a standing position.
Although standing is a natural physical position, not everyone stands correctly.
Follow these steps to ensure you have the correct posture when standing:
- Keep your weight on the balls of your feet and your knees slightly bent.
- Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart.
- Stand tall, shoulders back and tummy tucked in slightly to align the spine correctly.
Use the following tips to help you better incorporate more standing in your day:
- Stand when speaking on the phone or to a colleague. This is an easy way to get your energy up and it will give your eyes a break from the computer.
- Invest in an adjustable desk that gives the option to stand. If you are unable to afford an adjustable desk, there are adjustable tabletops. You can place these on top of your existing standard desk or table.
And finally, let’s address walking…
Walking is a form of physical activity and this movement can help you with correcting your posture.
The benefits of physical activity and what you need to do to effortlessly incorporate it into your daily life is covered brilliantly in the course, Achieving Professional Excellence.
However, some of the reasons for incorporating more walking during your days at the office or home include:
- It increases your metabolism
- It gives you a break from sitting or standing at your desk
- It re-energises your body and mind
To ensure you have the correct posture when walking: hold your posture tall, chin parallel to the ground, shoulders back, tummy tucked in slightly to align the spine correctly, engage your core, swing your arms gently from the shoulders and step from heel to toe…
I know, I know… it will be easy they said… it will feel completely natural they said…
Follow a few of these steps to effortlessly incorporate more walking into your day:
- Opt for the stairs when possible. If you are at work, give the elevator a miss. If you are at home, complete one circuit of your stairs or march on the spot for 30 seconds each time you take a break to get a drink.
- Take a walk at lunchtime. Why not establish a routine of going for a short walk at lunchtime. It will give you the space you need for clearing your mind of all of the clutter from the first half of your day and boost your productivity for the second half.
- Use an Activity Monitor to keep track of your steps. Activity monitors are a great way to be accountable and remain committed to your fitness goals.
Posture practice not posture perfect
There is no denying the benefits of having the correct posture. It can boost your performance at work because you will be less likely to suffer from fatigue and pain that having poor posture creates.
Having the correct posture contributes to good health both in the short and long term.
Your body is resilient and can bounce back from you not being perfect at maintaining the correct posture but the aim is to maximise the times you do get it right…
As with most things in life – it gets easier with practice.
… remember, stay curious and keep learning.
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