Tuesday, April 14, 2015

7 Ways to Improve Your Office Posture

Backaches, muscle pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel - it seems like the list of office-related injuries goes on and on! What most don't know is that 90% of this pain is due to improper posture. The human body wasn't made for 8-hours per day of sitting in an outdated office chair, and unfortunately, this lifestyle breeds terrible posture. Thankfully, we're here to give you all the best tips and tricks to improve your posture and reduce pain at work!

Be Conscious


We've all heard it from our mothers at some point, that familiar phrase "sit up straight!" But the reason we heard it so much was likely because we forgot. Habit forming is all about remembrance. In order to form a habit of proper posture, we must make a conscious effort to remember it. Take the time to familiarize yourself with what constitutes proper posture and lifting techniques, so you can employ them at work. Come up with a remembrance tactic to check your posture, and each time you get a text, or when the boss walks past the office cubicles nearby, sit up. Even the good old fashioned bow-on-the-finger trick is effective as long as you follow through frequently.

Stretch


Stretching is a excellent for building good posture. Not only does it limber up the muscles for exercise, but it helps to relieve pain if your muscles have developed unevenly due to bad posture. One of the biggest causes for office related pain is slouching and unnatural seating positions. For example, constantly turning one's head to stare at a computer screen can cause muscles in the neck and back to sort of "shrink" in places, which results in chronic muscular pain when you try to sit normally again. Adding flexible monitor arms to your office setup can prevent users from twisting unnaturally to see computer screens, and help to enforce ideal sitting habits. Frequent stretching breaks, also known as "office yoga," will kickstart the pain relief process and prepare your body for better posture.

Exercise


Exercise is the cornerstone of proper posture. A set of toned abs not only prepares you for swimsuit season, but it also keeps you sitting straight at work. Part of the reason office workers are so prone to slouching is because their abdominal muscles aren't prepared for, or capable of, supporting the spine during 8-hour workdays. Training your muscles to harden up and stay strong will help them hold up your spine, improving posture, and reducing pain. Curl ups, crunches, and pushups are all excellent exercises that train the abs, both in strength and endurance. Standing at height adjustable office desks (with breaks in between) is the latest fad. Walking and jogging can also help you cut as set of killer abs, so you'll look and feel fabulous at the desk - and the beach!

Train Your Body


While exercise is the key to healthful posture, it still takes a long time to develop healthy, enduring muscles. Having to go 8 hours a day without exercise is a huge hurtle to leap as well, and remains the biggest reason why office slouchers often give up on posture. But don't give up! There are many ways to train your body to keep posture while you're helping those muscles grow.

First, set up your cubicle so the layout doesn't tempt you back into bad posture. Set your chair height, seat, and armrests so that your knees and elbows are bent art right angles. If your chair doesn't offer these adjustments, perhaps its time to shop ergonomic office seating for an upgrade. Most ergonomic chairs are specifically designed to encourage better posture because it's the most effective way to prevent office-related pain. If you must, tie your upper body to the back of the chair to keep yourself from slouching forward. It may look silly, but hey, that's how kings learned!

Go to Extremities


Nope. It's not a typo. We really want you to go the extremities! Many healthful people often forget to consider the arms and legs when trying to impact posture. However, these parts of the body are just as prone to pain and injury as the neck and back. Adjust desk height and keyboard trays to meet the hands, instead of the other way around. Make sure the hands stay parallel with the forearms. This improves blood flow and reduces risk of arthritis and carpal tunnel while typing. If you're a standing worker, be sure to take frequent sitting breaks so your legs don't wear out, and your feet don't develop injuries or poor blood circulation. Always stand on a cushioned pad with supportive shoes to ensure healthful standing practice.

Invest in Your Health


Finally, invest in your health. No one knows you better than you do. If you're the type that needs a gym membership to exercise, invest in it. If you've got neck pain because of an improperly placed computer screen, get a monitor arm. If you've got specific back pain, shop around for a budget-friendly ergo chair that targets your body's weak points. There are plenty of excellent office furniture brands out there with your health in mind. Read customer reviews, call dealers for discounts, and shop sales and coupons to get the best deals. Your health depends on effort - make sure to put effort in!

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