A big issue with contemporary work environments is the fact that a majority of Americans spend their days sitting in front of a desk and computer. This sedentary work environment wrecks havoc on the physical body. Poor posture easily forms negative habits that can aggravate back and neck pain. Several ways to intentionally combat the contortion that happens at work are as follows:
- Identify the Symptoms
If you notice that your back or neck pain flairs up at certain times of the day or towards the end of the week, this may be the accumulation of improper sitting. Typical pain starts in the neck and moves downwards along the upper back to lower back before moving into your extremities.
- Body Alignment
Whether sitting or standing, it is important to evenly distribute your body weight. If sitting, your body should contour to the chair while sitting erect. You should also be able to draw a straight line from your hips through shoulders and then ears. If allowed, ask your company to invest in an alternative chair such as a balance ball to help keep your body in good form.
- Get Up!
Probably the most important bullet point on this list! If you work from a desk and sit all day, it’s critical to your health and wellness to stand up and move. Set a timer on your cell phone or a calendar reminder every hour that you should stand up, stretch, and take a two-minute sitting break. Your muscles tire and slump the longer you sit which contributes to poor posture becoming habitual. Do whatever is necessary to remind yourself to stretch, stand, and move!
Not only is standing, stretching, and moving important while you are at work, outside of the normal workday, it’s important to follow a regular exercise routine to keep your muscles strong. Incorporating an activity such as running, swimming, walking, or biking can help boost the core muscle groups used to keep you sitting in place with good posture to enable you to navigate the work week pain-free.
Self-care is key to ensuring your health. The above changes won’t completely eliminate issues stemming from sitting at a desk but they can actively combat the slouching, slumping, and stiffness that can result from desk jobs and help keep your mind and body more connected and healthier!