Most of us have been scolded our whole lives by parents, teachers, and relatives who have told us to sit up straight. Most of us have also ignored that advice. Posture is a difficult thing to stay conscious of, because it is something that is constantly developing throughout our whole lives. But the farther along we get in life, the more difficult it is to make changes to our posture. This is why it is so important that we stay aware of how we hold ourselves, and do what we can to prevent problems developing in the future. Here are a few steps you can take to encourage healthy posture.
The nature of the work we do has changed drastically in a very short amount of time. While in the past, most jobs were quite active, we have shifted towards a much more sedentary workplace. The majority of us now spend our days more or less parked in front of a computer. Sitting for 8 hours, 5 days a week will inevitably have long-term effects on our bodies, so this is a major consideration in modern times. The best way to sit at your desk is to make sure that your ears, shoulders, and hips form a straight line. Your feet should rest under your knees, which will be bent at a 90 degree angle. This pose may initially feel unnatural, but you’ll be surprised how quickly it makes a difference.
While having the correct posture at the office will make a major difference, you still shouldn’t be sitting for such extended periods of time. You should take a short break at least once an hour, and have a quick walk around the office. Doing this will not only prevent you from becoming stiff, but countless studies have shown that taking a break every hour also increases worker productivity & creativity.
We have discussed the effects that bad footwear can have on your body before, and posture is certainly one of most common victims. Even the slightest deviation in the way your feet lie when you walk or stand can have drastic knock-on effects throughout your whole body. For example, if you are experiencing back pain, it’s quite possible that it is actually a problem with your feet. To learn more about this, see our blog on Finding the Right Shoe for your Foot Type.
This is not something that is usually discussed in relation to posture, but there is a growing body of scientific research that suggests our obsession with screens is wreaking havoc on our backs. Many of us now spend hours a day lying down on our phones or laptops, and just like sitting in the office, this gradually affects our posture. It is important to be aware of this when you use your devices. Try and switch positions as much as possible, as well as give yourself a break.
As we grow older, our bones grow thinner and weaker. This leads them to “compress”, which affects our posture and can lead to a hunched appearance. Taking care of our bones both with diet and exercise can vastly reduce the likelihood of this happening, and ensure that we stay healthy into our old age. Postmenopausal women are particularly at risk due to hormone changes, but can benefit greatly from a regular exercise regime. See our recent blog discussing the Benefits of Yoga to see how yoga can be used to keep bones strong into old age.
Posture is something that will affect us for every moment of our life, and something that needs to be worked on almost as much. None of the techniques mentioned above require a strenuous amount of effort, but they do require a lot of commitment. Making a few slight changes and getting into the above habits will go a long way towards a healthy, comfortable posture.