DESKERCISE! Battling Poor Posture At Work
Why is posture important?
Posture is a major contributor to neck and low back pain. Maintain correct posture to lessen your chances of experiencing pain in these areas. Postural strain leads to increased pain and decreased productivity.
Why Do We Revert to a Flexed Posture?
A flexed posture is when our head drops forward and our spine rounds out – think fetal position. Our flexor muscles (the muscles that causes this action) are also developed first relative to the muscles that oppose this action. We also tend to have a flexed posture when we’re stressed. For example, we may be leaning over a computer screen at work, or scouring pages of a textbook on the table.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Get up and move! Set an alarm for every 40 minutes.
- Emphasize spinal stability exercises as part of your daily regimen.
- Perform postural exercises to break up the monotony of sitting.
- Vary your day to day activities and exercises.
- Stay hydrated by drinking enough water.
- Workout only what you see in the mirror – much of core strength is on the inside.
- Assume that even though you don’t have pain now that your body can tolerate poor posture forever.
- Assume that even if you exercise that this counteracts sitting.
Repetitive stress overloads the tissue and causes strains. Once the tissue is strained, it has difficulty returning to its original length. To prevent this, set an alarm to move for every 40 minutes, and drink water throughout the day!
DESKERCISE! Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk!
Here are 5 exercises you can do at your desk throughout the day to prevent pain.
1. Levator Scapulae Chair Stretch
- Sit tall in chair
- With right hand, hold the bottom of the seat
- Lean torso away from hand to depress right shoulder
- Bring left ear to left shoulder
- Tilt nose toward floor
- Use left hand to apply gentle overpressure
2. Overhead Reach
- Stand tall
- Reach the palm of your hand toward the ceiling
- Reach as high as you can reach while breathing in
- Hold for a 3 count
- Alternate hands
3. Seated Cat Camel
- Sit tall in chair with palms facing down on desk
- Arch low back while looking up toward ceiling
- Look down as you hunch low back
- It is not necessary to go to full range of motion
- Sit or stand tall
- Tilt head 45 degrees to the right with nose pointing forward
- Maintaining the 45 degree axis, point nose toward floor, then ceiling in a smooth motion
- Perform 10 times and repeat to other side
5. Bilateral Shoulder Flexion Stretch on Desk
- Place forearms on desk with palms pointed toward the ceiling
- Slide chair away from desk
- Keep heal neutral with spine (don’t drop head)
- You should feel stretch through back of shoulders and mid back
- Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times