Simple Stretches To Do At Your Desk

Sitting at a computer or looking down at your phone is not good for your body or posture. However, many people have desk jobs and even students have to be at their desks or in class for a long period of time. Here are some easy stretches you can perform at your desk to improve your posture.

Stretching your arms, neck and legs while sitting is essential to improve circulation and prevent you from feeling stiff. Slowly move your neck from side to side by looking left and right, but do not roll your head around your neck, as this will cause more damage. Move your shoulders up and down, while deeply breathing in and out. Now lift your arm and bend it behind your head, and place your other hand on the bent elbow to stretch it out. Sit up tall in your chair and stretch both your arms up over your head and reach for the sky.

To avoid aches and muscle pain try rolling your wrists and ankles regularly in a clockwise motion, and then counter clockwise. Make sure to move your fingers and wrists often especially when you spend a lot of time typing, as this will improve blood circulation and prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The last exercise to perform is the back and bicep stretch. Place your hands on the edge of the desk and slowly push your chair back. Your head should be between your arms, looking down at the floor. Hold this stretch and then pull yourself back in.

Performing these quick and simple stretches will not only improve posture but they will also improve circulation and have other health related benefits.

Take a look at the images below for a detailed representation of these stretches. Give it a try and let us know if you found these stretches helpful.

office_stretches-infographic

JL

References:

Info graphic: https://mcnak.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/office_stretches-infographic.jpg

http://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-While-Sitting-at-Your-Computer

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How To: Walk and Run

The way you hold your body is important and with so much time spent sitting hunched over at our desks, we have forgotten how to walk properly. Walking with good posture is critical and can prevent back pain.

Ideally you should stand tall and straight, do not lean forwards or backwards. Leaning too much can place pressure on your legs and back. Imagine there is a string attached to the top of your head and pulling you up. Your ears should be in line with our shoulders and your eyes should be looking straight ahead, not down! Your shoulders should be relaxed, if they’re tense then you will feel your neck and arms tighten and become more stressed. It is also a good idea to move your arms when walking, don’t swing to high but just slightly bend your elbows and move your arms across your body when you walk. Your core muscles can help you maintain good posture while walking. Gently tighten your stomach muscles, while still taking deep full breathes. Furthermore, wearing the correct shoes is also vital; as it can affect the way you move your feet. You should walk smoothly by rolling your feet from heel to toe.

Similarly, with running maintaining a good posture is important to your form. You should run “tall” and stay relaxed. Keep your chin up, loosen your shoulders and avoid clenching your fists.

By following these simple tips on how to walk and run, you will not only help improve your posture but you will also have a better workout.

Below is an info graphic, which look at the do’s and don’ts of walking and running.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-9-39-58-am

JL

References:

Info graphic http://greatist.com/health/ultimate-guide-good-posture

http://healthandstyle.com/fitness/how-to-walk-with-good-posture/

How To: Stand

Standing is part of our everyday life. However, many people are not standing the right way. Are you standing properly?

The correct way to stand:

  • Hold your head up straight
  • Keep your shoulders back
  • Your ears should be in line with your shoulders
  • Pull in your abdomen
  • Your feet should be about hip distance apart
  • Keep your knees straight

Try not to lean on one leg while standing, as this can cause stress on your hips and place pressure on your lower back. To improve your posture, evenly distribute your weight on both legs.

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Lifting objects can also put strain on your back and affect your posture. If you have to lift objects then make sure that your feet are firm on the ground, you bend your knees and use your legs to lift the object. Once you have picked up the object then come back to a standing position and avoid holding the object above your waist.

Having good posture while you are standing not only makes you look taller and more confident but it also has health benefits as it boosts air flow to lungs, allowing you to breath deeply and feel more energised. Standing up and having good posture has also been linked to better brain and memory performance. It generates positive thinking and improves your mood and overall confidence.

JL

 

References:

Info graphic http://greatist.com/health/ultimate-guide-good-posture

Cleveland Clinic, 2016. ‘How To Improve Posture For A Healthy Back – Good Posture’. Cleveland Clinic. <http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Posture_for_a_Healthy_Back>

How To: Sit

Below is an info graphic highlighting the do’s and don’ts of sitting.

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Sitting down for an extended period of time can damage your body, so try taking breaks and stretching every 30 minutes. If you are an office worker here are some tips on how to reduce poor posture and back pain:

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor, don’t cross your legs as this will prevent circulation
  • Don’t lean to far forward or back.
  • Rocking back and forth on your chair can actually help
  • Move around at every chance you get

Picking the right chair to sit on is also critical for good posture. Dr. James Levine states that “sitting is the new smoking” as sitting for a long period of time causes pain in the neck, shoulder and back. The standing desk was designed to help people overcome the risks of a sedentary lifestyle. It aims to improve circulation, posture and increase productivity. However, Dr Levine states that an adjustable desk is the way to go and recommends constant movement or stretches throughout the day.

When you are sitting in a car use a lumbar roll or some form of back support. If you are driving then move your seat closer to the steering wheel, allowing your knees to bend. Your knees should be at the level of your hips or higher.

JL

References:

Info graphic http://greatist.com/health/ultimate-guide-good-posture

Henry, L. (2016). ‘Neck or Back Pain from Sitting? You May Need a Standing Desk – Dr. Luke Henry’, Chiropractic Physician, Greenville, SC. <http://www.henryclinic.com/blog/blog/2016/07/26/neck-or-back-pain-from-sitting-you-may-need-a-standing-desk/>

Text Neck

 

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Are you constantly looking down at your phone, tablet or other wireless device? If so, then this may be causing damage to your neck and back.

In today’s society, with the rise in mobile technology, people are becoming addicted to their screens and are constantly hunched over. iPosture and text neck are modern age curse and is common among many.

Dr Carter, from the Australian Spinal Research Foundation states that on average “a person spends about four hours bending their necks looking at their mobile devices…and this causes a shift in spine alignment up to 4cm”. He also revealed that there is an alarming increase in the number of people who suffer from text neck and that in the last few years “over 50% of them were school-age teenager”.

These statistics are definitely alarming. We are becoming zombies, transfixed on our screens and this is detrimental not only to our posture but also for our society as we are becoming antisocial.

Some symptoms of text neck include: neck pain, soreness, muscle spasms and upper back or shoulder pain.

Here are some simple ways to prevent ‘text neck’

  1. Raise the phone to eye level so that your head isn’t tilted down, keep your shoulders back and maintain an upright posture
  2. Try performing some simple shoulder and neck stretches to keep your blood circulating and ease muscle pain.
  3. Avoid using your laptop or mobile phone while you’re sitting on your bed.
  4. Take frequent breaks, look up or just put down your mobile device. 

Here’s our challenge for you!

Next time you’re out eating with friends or family, put down your phone and don’t look at it until everyone has finished their meal. Get your friends involved too and have everyone place their phones face down on the table. Enjoy having conversations with those around you and embrace your surroundings.

JL

References

 Taylor, M. 2015. ‘What smartphone use is doing to our teens’. Daily Telegraph. <http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/central-coast/curse-of-modern-era-warning-over-the-rapid-rise-of-text-neck-in-teens-due-to-smartphone-addiction/news-story/3c15c9cde79a0207f9536f72569bd3f9>

Image from Flickr: Creative Commons

Good vs Bad Posture

Is poor posture really that bad?

Yes, Poor posture is bad.

Remember when your mum used to always say, “stand up straight!” or “stop slouching”? As annoying as it is, she was actually helping you out, as good posture is important.

Posture is more than just appearance. Poor posture can have both short and long term negative effects on your body. It places stress on your muscles and affects your body alignment and overall health. It also communicates to others that you are bored, self-conscious and tired. If you are hunched over for an extended period of time then this often leads to back and neck pain and can also cause fatigue. Studies have shown that poor posture deepens depression among students. If you are feeling pain then listen to your body and take the necessary steps to change your posture. Don’t be trapped in the vicious cycle of poor posture where you suffer from pain and more pain.

Maintaining a good posture while sitting, standing or lying down is important.

Make a positive change in your life today and fix your posture.

good_vs_bad_posture_infographic

 

Info graphic: http://www.lumobodytech.com/blog/good-posture-vs-bad-posture/

JL

Check Your Posture

Here is a quick and easy way to check if you have good or bad posture.

Give it a try!

Stand with your head, shoulders and back against a wall. Place your heels 5-6 inches forward (12.7-15.24 cm). There should be less than 2 inches (5.08 cm) between your neck and the wall.

If there is more than 2 inches (5.8 cm) between the back of your neck and the wall then this indicates bad posture or a curving of the spine.

Short-term effects of bad posture may not be evident yet as it is harder to test. Try to be more conscious about your posture and the way you’re standing or sitting.

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Another way to check your posture is to face a full length mirror and see if your shoulders are level, your head is straight, your hips are level and your kneecaps face forward. You can also turn to the side and check to see if your head is upright (not tilting forward or backwards), your chin is parallel to the floor, your shoulders are in line with your ears and your knees are straight.

If you find that your neck and shoulder muscles are sore when you apply pressure then this is also another sign of poor posture.

 

Info-graphic: http://greatist.com/health/ultimate-guide-good-posture