Poor posture is becoming an epidemic amongst office workers all around. The extended hours spent at our desks in front of computers is literally bringing us down into a painful, unsightly slouch – wreaking havoc on our spines and deteriorating our health and productivity.
In a nutshell here’s the scoop on posture around the United States.
- Women tend to have 20% worse posture than men
- 2pm is the time where people are most slouchy
- Poor posture is the number one cause of back pain
- A whopping 70% of the population suffers back pain at some point in their lives
- Back pain is the number one reason for missed workdays and visits to the doctor
So, without further ado, here is the the 3-part guide to better posture for the work professional.
Train Your Brain
Poor posture is equal parts mental as it is physical. One of the best ways to improve your posture is to simply pay more attention to the way you carry yourself. The more you train yourself to become aware of your posture, the quicker and easier it becomes to catch yourself slumping forward. Before you know it, upright posture will become second nature to you.
A neat trick is to put a small mirror on your desk, positioned so that you can only see your reflection when you’re sitting up straight. The alternative is to have a mirror to give you a full visual of your posture at all times. If you can get past the initial adjusting to catching glances of yourself at your desk, using visual cues is a sure fast way to curb bad posture habits.
If you can’t beat em’….Avoid em’. Another way to avoid hunching is to nip the problem in the bud and simply spend less time sitting. This can either mean changing up your workspace into a standing desk for some portion of the day, or finding more time to get up and move around.
Finding even 5 minutes in every hour to get up and move around is 5 minutes less of potential harmful slouching, as well as a great way to log extra steps. If you don’t have time to walk around, try one of these stretches you can do at your desk to shake out muscles and give your back and mind the break it needs.
Switching between sitting and standing during the day has additional benefits, too. Changing up even the slightest part of your work station, like a standing desk, can give you new perspective, refreshing daily routines that have become stale over time. This can help boost productivity and creativity for an extra bonus to improving your posture.
The third approach to improving posture long-term is to build muscle memory. Poor posture puts tremendous pressure on your spine, leading to deteriorating discs and irritated joints – which is as painful as it sounds. But the culprit for slouching tends to be the lack of supporting muscles around the spine that is meant to keep the back upright.
To make matters worse, poor posture and weak core muscles reinforce each other, making for a never ending cycle of slouching without intervention. The more you slouch, the weaker your muscles get from lack of use, and the weaker the muscles get, the more challenging it becomes to sit up straight.
The silver-lining here is that the upside is true as well, which means that strengthening core muscles like abdominals, back and shoulders could be your ticket out of hunchdom and help you get back onto an upward trend into posture perfection.
A great core workout that targets all the right muscles for good posture are plank workouts. Start by doing short intervals like 15 seconds, and building up to longer ones as your body allows. If you need a regimen to stick to, give the MyFitnessPal 30 Day Plank Challenge a try.
Whatever path to posture perfection you take, remember that any improvement is better than no improvement at all.
Start your habit change today with Lumo Lift
Lumo Lift is a small lightweight wearable that tracks and coaches you on your posture, as well as tracks daily activity, such as steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned. Compatible with iOS/iPhone, Windows desktop and select Android devices. Free shipping, 30-day money-back guarantee and 1 year limited warranty.