Attention all office workers
All that time you spend slouching over your computer at work is actually pretty bad for you. You’ve probably heard your mum tell you how bad it is to have bad posture, well, she’s right.
• Slouching can cause digestive problems. Your rib cage is pushing down on your internal organs. With good posture you allow your intestines do their work well
• Slouching can cause chronic pain in your upper body. Although painful at first, good upright posture is what nature intended so don’t fight it. The pain you feel in the beginning is because you’re working muscles that you haven’t used in a while
• Slouching decreases mental performance; although this only seems to affect men. A recent study by Colorado College showed that male students with good posture scored a lot higher than slouchers
• Good posture makes you taller. Slouching can make you lose up to 1 inch in height
• Good posture makes your tummy appear slimmer and helps prevents a ‘beer belly’. Slouching pushes down on your organs. Extended periods of this actually makes your organs mould to the bad posture, which means they make your belly more pronounced.
Avoiding the Desk Slouch
There are some simple stretches you can perform at work and home to help regain and retain good posture.
Scapula retractions & depression
This is a great stretch to help improve the activation of the scapula (shoulder) retractors & depressors)
• In your chair, sit upright with a tall posture
• With your arms by your sides, pull your shoulders and shoulder blades back and downwards until you can feel a good squeeze between your shoulder blades
• Hold this position for a count of 6
• Repeat 6-10 times
Chair Thoracic mobilization
• In your chair, sit upright with a tall posture with your hands linked behind your head
• Your back should be against the back of your chair with the top of the chair level with the lowest point of your shoulder blades
• Bring your elbows together and push them up
• Lean back over the back of your chair and continue to push your elbows up
• Hold this position for a count of 2
• Repeat 10-20 times
This is the standing version of the scapula retractions & depression.
• With your back against a wall, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your head, shoulders and bum against the wall
• With your hands down by your sides and palms facing away from the wall, pull your shoulders and shoulder blades back and downwards until you can feel a good squeeze between your shoulder blades. Think about keeping a tall posture throughout and pushing the back of your hands into the wall
• Hold this position for as long as you can. Aim for 60 seconds and increase this time each time you do this stretch.
Fidget in your chair and get up & walk about the office. Studies show that people who don’t assume prolonged postures have better overall posture & mobility. Fidgeting will help prevent you being stuck in any one position for too long, and help to avoid postural adaptations that cause problems.
Take a few minutes each hour to move about and stretch key areas. Not only does this provide a much needed mental break, it will also provide a break from poor posture.