Quick Tip to Better Your Posture
Counter all the forward slumping over your desk/keyboard and stand with your back against a wall. Start with your heels touching the wall. Try to notice what parts of your body are in alignment. Do your calves also touch the wall? Does your butt touch? Where does your back hit the wall? Is it just your shoulderblades touching? How much space is between the back of your shoulder and the wall? Can you get the back of your head to comfortably rest against the wall?
It’s hard not to keep talking about posture, but it is one of the most important factors that contributes to your overall health. Something as simple as how your body is aligned throughout the day can make a major difference in the amount of blood flow and oxygen going to various parts of your body including your brain, affect your energy level, and put you at risk for other musculoskeletal injuries. See the article, “How to do an Ergonomic Assessment of Your Workspace” to get a good start on improving your work environment and sitting posture.
The illusive correct posture is something that in actuality varies greatly with different body types. What is important is that you find the correct posture for your body type. Ideally when standing comfortably against a wall with your head facing straight ahead, you want your heels, calves, butt, most of your back, and the back of your head to touch the wall while you still feel balanced and are not leaning or straining to make things touch. Having the normal anterior-posterior curvature in your spine is very crucial for shock absorption. So, while military posture may look correct, and your parents may have told you to stand like a soldier, it is good for your body to allow the natural curvature of the spine to take place.
Notice the position of the head in all the different types of posture. Do you find yourself looking down constantly and/ slumping while at your desk. Many poor sitting postures carry over to standing postures and vice versa.
Correct Your Posture
There are a few simple exercises that can really make a difference in your alignment and help change your posture. The first place I would address is your head and neck. If your head is really far from touching that wall, it is time to start doing “Chin Tucks” to reverse what is called forward head posture.
- Chin Tucks. Start with your head in a neutral position. Then use your finger to guide your chin back into your neck. Try to make as many chin folds as you can by going straight back. It is important to note that you are not flexing the neck. Hold this position for 10 seconds, relax, then repeat again. I find the best place to get my chin tucks in is at red lights. Sit up tall in your seat and get a couple in as you wait for the light to change. This simple exercise is also great if you feel a headache coming on. Cervical (neck) posture has great influence over the amount of blood flow to your brain and can be a factor in tension headaches and feeling tired.
- Scapular Squeezes. In addition to working on your neck muscles, it is a good idea to strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades. These tend to get weak, especially if you have rounded shoulders or hunch over a desk. Again, you want to sit up tall, relax your shoulders so that your traps are not elevating your shoulders, then squeeze your shoulders together from the middle of your back. You should feel this in your rhomboids. Take breaks throughout your day to stretch, strengthen and improve your posture.