[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat is bad posture? Symptoms like the ache in your neck, pain in your lower back, or the tightness in your shoulders could very well be bad posture.
But these are effects of bad posture not the definition.
You sit in your chair all day typing like a mad man. Your back is rounded, your shoulders hunched and your head is forward.
If we look at evolution we're closer to looking like the Australopithecus than the Homo sapiens. We're degrading back 4,000,000 years of evolutionary growth.
Bummer I know!
The definition of correct posture is the positioning of joints that provide minimum stress on the joints of our body.
So to answer what bad posture is, it’s the opposite of correct posture.
I know, sorry for being so technical.
We can thank our unnatural work environments and our confused definition of ergonomics for poor posture.
But keep reading, their are ways to correct posture.
Work related doom
In a recent study, 70.1% of participants weren’t aware of the term ergonomics.
Ergonomics is the applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.
In short, it’s how your office equipment is set up to reduce the total pressure on your joints.
56.9% of the office workers in the study reported hand and forearm pain. 22.7% of these people took health care treatment, 9.3% took time away from work for complaints of arms, neck and shoulder (CANS) problems, while 15.5% reported CANS disrupting their normal work and life activities.
Not only is poor posture a productivity killer it affects your quality of life. [TWEET THIS]
The biggest mistake is you’re not doing it right.
Sitting that is.
Slouching and being an ever-present drone to your computer screen is where it all begins.
You began sitting at your desk like a human. Shoulders pulled back, head in a neutral position, arms at a 90 degree angle, and your wrists propped.
Over time you let yourself go. Is this true with your fitness and nutrition as well? Coincidence?
Your head begins to lean forward and you begin to slouch. As time goes on, it gets worse.
Hence why you may look like a Australopithecus sitting in your office chair.
Now you feel the pain.
As you evolved into a Tasmanian workaholic who lost control of their posture you began to feel discomfort. The biggest problems are pinches and pain in the arms, neck and shoulder but there's more to it than just that.
- Lower back issues: muscles have tightened and have become achy.
- Limited range of motion: muscles become permanently shortened or stretched due to the hunched-over-my-computer-all-day syndrome. Muscles and ligaments no longer function as they should.
- Jaw pain: temporomandibular joint disease is brought on by a forward-head position. No fun!
- Constantly tired: poor posture leads to poor breathing with decreases in circulation and digestion. It also increases muscle tension.
If you think all of this sounds like a pain, you tell me?
Ways to correct posture
Over the years you may have unknowingly beat yourself up with bad posture, but fear not.
With small environmental changes and a big upgrade in your lifestyle you’ll be back to normal in no time.
Here are a few ways to correct posture:
- Ergonomical work environment: change the way your office is set up. If your screen is low, causing a forward head position, get a stand. Or maybe your chair causes you to slouch, so get rid of it. Personally, I use a stability ball for my office chair.
- Self-myofascial release: Get your self-myofascial release on with a foam roller. This small tool helps reduce muscle tightness that effects your range of motion.
- Quite sitting all day: Get up and get moving. Sitting all day will only tire and wear you down. Practice the management by walking around strategy, or do a quick office workout. Just quit sitting so damn much.
- Walk more: We were born to walk the terrain and now all we do is sit. Walk the dog, be one with nature or just park farther away. Whatever it is, walk more.
- Work out: Because you have bad posture your muscles have shortened or stretched in unnatural ways. Work them out to help them become stronger and put back in a state of natural mobility.
We can now all agree that sitting down has become an epidemic of the office worker.
So change it.
Make actionable changes not only in your office environment but also your every day life.
Become an active “human.”
Do you have pain in the arms, neck and shoulders? How much do you sit in a typical day? Comment below.