What’s the cost of slouching?
Our heads, on average weigh 10 to 11 pounds – which is a disproportionate amount of weight to not keep in balance. When we’re off balance, our bodies suffer.
“Every inch you hold your head forward , you add 10 pounds of pressure on your spine,” noted Dr. Jason Queiros, a Chiropractor at Stamford Sports and Spine in Connecticut. “Let’s say you’re leaning into your monitor by just two inches, that’s an extra 20 extra pounds that your back and spinal column have to endure,”
Adding up to 20 pounds of extra pressure to our back and spine can’t be good. Let’s take a look at some solutions.
Sit up straight
One way to engage your muscles is to sit up straight in your office chair. We tend to tense up our shoulders and pull them up to our ears. Begin with the rolling of your shoulders. Pull your shoulders back and allow them to drop and relax. Take a deep breath from your belly, then allow your shoulders to drop. Immediately following a few shoulder rolls, squeeze your back muscles (or your trapezius muscles.) Try this a few times. You should immediately feel a straightening in your posture.
Engage your abdominals
Another important group of muscles for improved posture is the core. Our core is made up of our abdominals and back muscles which allow us to not fall forward. Gently tense them up, and allow these muscles to straighten your posture. When you allow them to completely disengage, that is when our posture becomes slouched and sloppy.
A benefit to engaging the abdominals aside from stellar posture, is an opportunity to attempt some core exercises while sitting at your desk. Give it a try. Engage your stomach muscles gently, and you should again feel a slight, upright straightening of improvement in your posture.
For a quick boost, you can do these exercises in the middle of your day or first thing in the morning:
- Planks. Perform a set of three planks for 60 seconds each. Go into position as if you were at the top of a pushup and hold. Make sure to keep in your abdominal muscles engaged to perform the exercise properly. Stay in this position for 15 seconds then rest for 10 seconds and perform it a total of 4 times.
- Toe Touches. Lie on your back and lift your legs to a 90 degree angle and try to touch your toes. The higher you reach, the more you will be engaging your ab muscles. Perform 4 Sets of 20 reps.
- Bicycles. Begin with lying on your back, lift your legs to a 45 degree angle then, place hands behind the head and start with your legs as if pedaling a bicycle.
Do even more
We’ve discussed keeping shoulders relaxed, and engaging your core, now for more practical steps. Change your position throughout the day so you don’t stay in one position for too long. Take frequent breaks, (at least every two hours) as circulation is essential for improved health. Frequent breaks will ensure that you are not remaining sedentary, as leading a sedentary lifestyle leads to poor health.
Here are some tips on how to get the blood pumping:
- Take a 15 minute walk around your office building
- Walk up and down your office stairs for a few minutes
- Step away from your desk and do a few sets of air squats
The idea here is to get moving and switch positions every couple of hours and it is as easy as adopting some of these recommendations and in the end assisting with your posture. We can quickly make some changes and adjustments and aim to counterbalance the effects of incorrect posture.
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