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How to take care of your posture in the office

Published on: 04/12/2018

Muscle aches? Here's how to take care of your posture in the office...

Everyone knows extended sitting is not natural for our bodies, and how simple it is to slip into bad habits when it comes to our posture. When we are working, our minds are on the task at hand, rather than how we are sitting when we are doing our job.

Good posture is achieved through consciously training our bodies to move, stand and sit in well-aligned positions where we are not straining our bodies through propping them into unnatural positions. 

The way we sit for long periods of time can have serious long-term impacts for our health, so how do we set good habits which we can stick to while keeping up at work?

These tips are simple tips to improve your posture and general joint and back health when sitting for long periods which you can apply today.

 

Good posture needs lumbar support

Good posture involves keeping up the natural alignment of your body as you sit. By avoiding abnormal positions for your body to be in, you can prevent and limit muscle pain in your back, neck, shoulders and hips.

However, the ‘good’ sitting position of shoulders back and support across both the lower and upper back can be hard to achieve when the body naturally slouches forward when we are working or focusing.  

A good way to avoid this inevitable slouch is to provide lumbar support on your chair. Specially-made lumbar support pillows can be purchased online, but many cushions and even clothing and towels can be rolled up to provide light lumbar support and help get us in the habit of sitting correctly. This forces us to sit in a ‘good posture’ position with an aligned spine, which may be slightly uncomfortable at first as the body learns the correct position.

 

Keep 'Office Active'

One of the hardest pieces of advice to stick to is to avoid sitting down for no more than 30 minutes. This assumes a perfect world, and it is a difficult rule to apply when we are focused on our tasks.

Sitting for a long amount of time degrades your muscles and slows down your blood flow. There are a few simple rules that can be applied to make sure you are regularly standing up from a seated position.

  • Make sure you are staying hydrated and getting water or other beverages regularly. This has multiple benefits to your health, alongside making sure you are walking to the tap or water cooler regularly
  • Use a simple phone app such as Break Reminder. which will send you notifications to remind you to take a small break from working at regular intervals
  • Apply the Pomodoro method to your work, which allows for regular breaks every 25 minutes
  • Incorporate a small walk into your work lunch breaks
  • Arrange meetings in other sections, floors or even buildings in your office

Take a mid-afternoon break to do some desk yoga

 

Improve your posture by avoiding awkward and unnatural positions

One of the easiest ways to improve your posture is to simply apply a few ‘do not’ rules to stop your body resting in unnatural positions. These can include:

  • Do not cross your legs
  • Do not stick your legs in front of you, but keep them flat on the floor
  • Do not cradle your phone on your neck or shoulder
  • Do not twist at your waist when you are on a rolling chair. Simply pivot your whole body instead
  • Do not position your work station so that your neck or shoulders are in twisted position to the side. Make sure your work station is right in front of you.

 

Setting a regular stretching routine for your muscles

Don’t get caught in the trap of taking a few pain killers to stop aches and pains. Regular exercises and stretching routines for your muscles are an ideal long-term solution to aches and pains.

Various exercises are suggested for those who have specific bad habits, such as fixing a slouching posture, rounded shoulders, or relieving tension in the neck and shoulders.  

Common strength exercises such as planks (engaging core muscles), back extensions found in many yoga positions, and bridges which help strengthen the lower back can help both correct posture and chase away any muscle pain caused by the sedentary lifestyle.

Even doing a round of these exercises once a week will help you immensely. Reserve the time, choose a routine that works for you and see the difference.

 

Milton Park regularly partner up with The Park Club for Wellbeing Wednesday, introducing taster exercise classes alongside talks on nutrition, fitness and wellbeing.

Sign up the Park Club’s information email for information on the latest event.

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