When we perform an ergonomic assessment in the workplace the focus is to create a functional, comfortable and adjustable area for you to work. A portion of the assessment addresses equipment adjustability, height, and your office layout. The other portion is focused on the employee’s posture and habits. More common than not, the individual will admit to having poor posture and bad habits, yet are at a loss for a solution or routine. Below are some posture correction techniques you can put to use in the office.
The exercises and tips below can help reduce poor posture and improve one’s overall health.
Forward head posture is common, consequently placing high loads onto the muscles of the back of your neck and head. Your ears should be aligned with your shoulders and your chin in a neutral position.
Tip: It is recommended to bring your neck into this position every time your head or body is leaning towards your screens or work. Re-aligning your neck muscles frequently throughout the day will help reduce neck strain and tension.
The shoulders easily round forward which creates tension and tightness in the chest muscles found at the front of your shoulders. This also causes muscle fatigue and stiffness around your shoulder blades.
Stretch: Sit up straight, squeezing the lower sections of your shoulder blades together and hold this position. This will help place your shoulders in the correct position and will also re-align your spine.
The slouching position is a combination of rounding your shoulders and back. This position is the most common sign of postural fatigue and can increase back muscle tightness and discomfort. It is very important to engage the abdominal muscles as much as possible when seated to help maintain the proper spine alignment.
Stretch: Get up from your seat and place your hands on your hips and extend into a backwards position. This stretch re-creates the opposite position of slouching and reduces the tension and load on your back muscles.
Your hip flexors and hamstrings are often shortened and tight as they are usually flexed in a seated 90-degree position. It is very important for hip mobility and back health to stretch and move your hips and legs often throughout the day.
Exercise: Using a stable chair or stool, extend your leg straight to lengthen the hamstring and hold this position. Then move into a bent knee position and lean into the stretch to target the hip flexor and hold. Repeat this on both legs.
When you are working in a static position, it is recommended to move every 20-30 minutes to reduce fatigue, discomfort and prolonged poor posture. The posture correction tips offered in this article are generic. It is important to consult your doctor or exercise specialist before performing any exercises and stretches.