If you grew up like me, you had a mother who was always telling you to “Keep your shoulders back” and “Hold your head up straight” and “Stop slouching”!!!
God love her… truly our mom’s had our best interest! Posture is incredibly important to many aspects of our health: mental health, digestion, neurological, and obviously our musculoskeletal health. But is there really a *PERFECT Posture?!* Read on to find out the answer 🙂
While I was getting my Doctorate of Physical Therapy, one of my professors always said “Your best posture is your NEXT posture.” Let that one sink in for a sec… What he means is, we are designed to MOVE. The human body was not created to sit still for hours at a time. Unfortunately our society has been structured around this culture of “Cubicle work” which has turned into thousands of people who sit at a desk for 8+ hours/day. This is not good and I fear for our generation as we age! BUT! If you’re reading this, maybe you can start implementing some things that will keep you moving throughout the day so that you don’t see the after-effects of an inactive lifestyle.
Okay so you might be thinking, “Katie… I can’t really change the fact that my job requires me to sit for long periods of time…” And I get it!!! Truly. I have worked with hundreds of adults just like you. So I am going to break down for you the best way to sit for your health. HOWEVER! Thanks to tons of research revealing the issues with sedentary lifestyles, now more than ever, many workplaces are welcoming new ideas, work station set-ups, and will allow you to take frequent “micro-breaks” throughout the day. My advice would be to reach out to someone in your office who may have more information about what your company can provide. I know many companies will allow you to have a standing desk or one that can convert from sitting to standing (My personal recommendation.) It never hurts to ask right?!
To set up your perfect posture, first we need to look at your chair. I recommend one that has adjustable height, so that it can adapt to the height of your work station. You also want to be sure that your chair is low enough that both feel can touch the floor. You want to have a 90 degree angle at your ankles, hips, and knees. See picture below. If you already have lower back issues, you will want to select a chair that has a lumbar support or find a small pillow to place back there.
Next up, your desk. Like I mentioned before, the best desks are ones that can convert from a seated to a standing position. This encourages MOVEMENT so you can switch back and forth between sitting and standing throughout the day. Your best posture is your next posture right 😉 If you are seated, you will want to have your elbows at a 90 degree angle if your arms are typing on the computer. Next is the height of your monitor. Make sure the screen is directly in front of your eyes! You do not want your neck to be bent or extended for long periods of time.
My last recommendation for you is to take micro-breaks throughout the work day. You should be getting up at least once an hour. If you have an apple watch, it will let you know if you have not stood up in the last hour. If you don’t have a smart device, set a timer and every time it goes off- MOVE your body. You can get up and walk around a little, do my 5 minute working from home stretch break, or take a walk outside if you have a little more time to play with. It seems so simple, and it is so easy to ignore, but trust me the benefits greatly outweigh the costs.
I hope this quick guide to perfect posture was helpful! But I want to hear from you! What did you think?? What questions do you have about posture, work station set ups, hourly movements? Any topics you would like me to discuss in future Wellness Weekly emails? Let me know!!!! I would love to answer any questions you have! Feel free to email me or DM on instagram!