Let’s face it, many of us want to have better posture than we do. With more and more professions requiring our bodies to be in a sedentary position for majority of the day, it’s easy to let poor posture creep in via slouching, crossing your legs, leaning to one side more than the other, etc. So many clients come to me with lower back pain, which they don’t always realize is often connected to poor posture – both sitting and standing.
Bad posture can also increase feelings of depression, zap your energy and cut off your circulation. Couple that with sitting for long periods of time, and you’ve got a very unhappy body. The good news is you can absolutely make changes to improve your posture, and here are some tips to help you whether you sit for 10 hours a day or 1.
Sit on a balance ball
Sitting on a balance ball can be a great choice at the office. In this posture, the pelvis is rocked gently forward, increasing the lumbar curve and naturally shifting the shoulders back (similar to sitting upright on the edge of a chair seat). A very common desk job posture is known as forward head posture or rounded shoulder posture. This can help you be more aware and mindful of your posture.
Plus you will be activating your core muscles on top of it, which is a bonus!
Foam rolling, also known as myofascial release, is a very easy and fast way to release tight muscles. Think of it as a deep tissue massage. The more you can release and massage tight muscles, the more you can open up your body (such as in yoga) and the easier it will be to correct posture and sit up straight.
Here are some of our favourite foam roller exercises.
Stretching can make it easier and less painful to sit up straight. Be sure to target the hips and shoulders as these areas tend to be the most tight when sitting for long periods of time. Here are some simple stretches to sneak in throughout your workday:
- Shoulder roll: roll your shoulders,
- Side stretch: Inhale your arms overhead and side stretch to each side.
- Forward fold: Stand up and do a forward fold bending from the hips. Hold on to your elbows.
- Neck stretch + Neck Rolls
- Figure Four Leg cross in a chair for hips
Yoga is a great way to work on your flexibility, and you can even do it at your desk! Here are our favourite office yoga poses.
Think of your core as the centre and controller of your body. If your core is weak, your lower back tries to over-compensate which eventually leads to back pain. To balance out your middle, you want to strengthen your core in order to support your lower back and prevent back pain. Try to incorporate core-strengthening exercises 3-5 times a week.
Here’s our favourite killer ab workout – no equipment needed.
Take the stairs, walk to lunch, hand deliver messages, park as far away as you can…you get the idea! As muscles tire, slouching, slumping, and other poor postures become more likely. This in turn puts extra pressure on the neck and back. In order to maintain a relaxed-yet-supported posture, change positions frequently. One way is to take a 5 minute break to move for every one hour of sitting, even if just to stretch, stand or walk. This adds up throughout the day and turns your metabolism on!
It is also known as NEAT (Non Exercise Active Thermogenesis). Not only will you give your body a break, you will get some blood flowing and feel fresh and recharged.
Here are some lunch break workouts so there’s no excuses!
You don’t want the shoes on your feet to be causing you more harm than good. When wearing uncomfortable shoes (i.e. high heels) you mindlessly compensate in other areas of your body over-working and adding strain to certain muscles and joints. For example, when wearing high heels your calves are over-worked and tight, an imbalance which can add unnecessary strain to your knees. Wearing heels also makes it difficult to align your knees and ankles when sitting, which affects your overall sitting posture. Wearing comfortable shoes can, at times, seem unrealistic if your work dress code is more formal, but the more you can get away with a pair of fashionable flats, the better your spine alignment and posture will be.
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