Do you sit all day? Did you know that sitting all day at work can be as deadly as smoking?? While most of you are probably physically fit, I’ve read that even a 1 hour session at the gym after work doesn’t negate the 8 hours of sitting…which seems obvious.
So what do you do about it? Try to get up and take a 5 minute walk every hour. Think about it…that will be 40 minutes of walking in your work day. That’s a good start.
But this post won’t be about how to sit less. I’m going to talk about how to sit BETTER while you’re at work. Because posture plays a huge role in fitness as well. Having bad posture can lead to injuries and affect how efficient you are while exercising.
I have horrible posture – I’ll admit it. Which is why I wanted to write about this. I wanted to do the research and see how I can help myself be better at this.
Have you heard of upper crossed syndrome? Here’s a quick picture:
Upper crossed syndrome is a muscular imbalance in your upper body, usually from sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time. I have noticed that I have “forward head syndrome” which scares me because my neck bones have now been molded that way it seems!
Here’s what to look for with upper crossed syndrome:
Forward head posture – Picture the little old lady crossing the street who can’t see where she’s going because her head is jutting forward of her shoulders so she can only look to the ground in front of her and not up or ahead.
Increased cervical lordosis and thoracic kyphosis – The hunchback. Think about how your shoulders must compensate in the overhead position if you have a even the beginnings of a hunchback.
Elevated and protracted shoulders – This is when your pecs are so tight and your sub-scapular muscles (the ones between and below your shoulder blades) are too weak to hold your shoulders back so they round forward instead.
Rotation or abduction and winging of the scapula – Abduction means the (scapula) bone is moving away from the body which gives it a ‘wing’ looking effect when looking at it from the side or rear views. If someone can slide their fingers under your shoulder blade and grab on to it, your scapulae are winging.
A weak upperbody leads to shoulder tightness and weakness. I’ve seen it in clients before…where doing overhead presses is so hard for them because of their shoulder tightness.
So how do we avoid all of these postural imbalances?
I did some Google research and found a few tips to help us all with our posture while at computers. Here’s what I found:
- “Eyes should be about level with the top of the computer screen or the top third of the monitor.”
- “Arm rests should be positioned at a height where you can comfortably keep your shoulders back and down, while still being able to reach the keyboard or mouse without stretching.”
- “Many newer office chairs are designed with lower-back support built in, but if yours isn’t, simply placing a pillow or a support tool called the McKenzie Roll at the small of your back can help. The idea is to maintain the natural, reverse-C shaped curve in the lower back.”
- “Use a wrist rest to minimize stress on your wrists and prevent awkward wrist positions. While typing, hold your hands and wrists above the wrist rest. During typing breaks, rest the heels or palms of your hands — not your wrists — on the wrist rest.”
And I found this great infographic from Women’s Health:
Everyday I have to remind myself to do these things, whether it’s at my computer or just driving home in my car. I’m such a sloucher. But I don’t want to have permanent forward head syndrome (or as my sister calls it, “turtle back”) when I’m older.
Do you have good posture? What tips would you add?
If you’re a dancer or gymnast I’m jealous because you all have awesome posture!
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