Before I learned about posture and stress, I would be sore by the time lunch kicked around at work. My shoulders and lower back felt it the most, and it seemed to come home with me. I kept asking myself, How am I already this sore everyday in my 20’s? And other than sitting all day, I tried to lead a healthy lifestyle – I ate healthy and got at least an hour of exercise everyday. But why was I still getting sore?
I started learning about posture and being stressed while working at a desk for 8 hours. You might have heard of the phrase sitting is the new smoking. In my opinion, sitting poorly is the new smoking. If done correctly and with some awareness, sitting doesn’t have to be mean an early death sentence.
Don’t stay in the same position too long. A lot of us aren’t aware of our posture throughout the day. And posture isn’t just important when you’re standing – it’s super important when you’re sitting too. Our muscles aren’t used to being stuck in one place for a long period of time. This can cause muscle fatigue and eventually soreness. Depending on your desk setup, you might find that you lean more to one side to be able to reach your mouse and keyboard, and you’re putting more pressure on one side of your body. So, even if you are sitting for 8 hours, try shifting your body every 20 minutes. There are some apps that can help you track daily stress on your body.
Change your desk setup. You can be in a lot of trouble if your desk arrangement promotes poor posture. There’s a lot of articles online that explain steps to making the optimal work environment. Make sure your monitor is at the right height so your chin is up, but not too high. Change the height of your chair so you can be close to your desk and your elbows can be at a 90 degree angle while reaching for your mouse and keyboard. If you use a laptop, try buying an external mouse and keyboard so you don’t have to lean over your desk to type.
Take short walking breaks. It’s recommended that you try and get up every 20 minutes. And I get that a lot of us can’t do that in our day jobs. So, I try to stick with the rule of thumb to get up at least once an hour. Do a walk to the bathroom, grab a coffee or snack, or just do some stretches at your desk.
Learn about posture. One thing that helped me a lot was simply learning about posture. I dove into books like The Power of Posture and learned self-checks I could do throughout the day to make sure my spine was inline and I wasn’t putting too much pressure on my back.
As humans, we’re not used to be sitting all day. Our bodies have evolved with walking in mind. Our ancestors walked a lot, and our systems adapted to this. Our “sewage system” actually requires movement to help flush toxins out of our body. Walking and running can actually promote a detox for your body. Hopefully you can keep these things in mind. As I’m developing better posture, I feel more aware of my body, and in more control of my body. I wish you luck on your journey to developing better posture!