I’ve this question asked in my clinic this week that I wanted to share with you (It’s a common question I often get asked about posture)…
‘Kate, I’ve recently had Repetitive Strain Injury from work and although I’ve been given a wrist rest for when I’m on the computer, I still seem to suffer from bad posture. What would help improve my posture at work??…’ – Clare, 49, Durham
A lot of people underestimate the power of great posture and the advantages it can provide to your lifestyle.
Think of it in this way – a lot of your time is spent at work doing whatever it is you do, but bad posture can have a serious effect on your health.
Some people can spend hours either at a desk or stood up at work and those hours of having bad posture can add up to something serious if it’s not dealt with.
Here’s a few ways to improve your posture and ultimately, make a healthy lifestyle habit…
This tip might seem quite obvious but the first thing I’d recommend is to keep your body straight. If you have an office job then adjust your seating if you are sat down for a long period of time. Remember the chair’s features are there for a reason, to make you feel supported!
Sit up straight and adjust the chair so that it feels comfortable and supportive. Sometimes, depending on how long you are sat for, even if you are sitting in a good position, it can feel tiring. If this is the case, then try shifting towards the front of your seat with a straight back from time to time. This can sometimes help ease your back muscles and stop you from slouching.
If you stand up at work, then standing straight really does help. I know at times it can feel like a relief to rest your body weight on one leg whilst resting the rest of your body on a desk or worktop. However, this is the worst way you can stand. Ultimately all you are doing to your body is putting strain on particular muscles whilst you ‘rest’. When standing, make sure your body weight is spread evenly to the front, back and sides of the feet.
Another great tip is to get up (if you are not already) and move! Yes you could finish off that one last email, but most people end up doing hours of work once they get started with that ‘one’ email! As a result, you could be glued to your chair all day, meaning you’re putting more pressure on the neck and back.
The best time to get up and moving is when you start to feel your body slouch a little and find it hard to keep in a comfortable position. If it’s possible, try and get up from your chair every half an hour or so and do a few stretches or walk around for a few minutes. Think of it as a tea break for your body. After a few minutes you’ll come back to your desk refreshed and ready to start working.
If like Clare, you are thinking of using posture-friendly props, then great. They are easy to find and can make a big difference to your posture at work. As Clare had done, she decided to use a wrist rest to help ease her symptoms of Repetitive Strain Injury.
However there are many other props that will help you at work. Footrests, back supports and even a pillow can help ease back pain. Even positioning your computer screen at eye level will help avoid straining the neck with the head tilted forward.
If you don’t work in an office and are based more outdoors, then even using correct footwear, bags and backpacks can help minimise back strain and can encourage good posture.
Ultimately, you work to support your life, so it’s only right that you take care of your posture so you can be happy and healthy at work. The solution lies not only in putting these actions in place, but also committing to these tips in the long run. It may not be a quick fix but you’ll be easing your pain in the long-term. This is one of the healthy habits that everyone needs in their working day.