Thursday, August 11, 2016

Improving Posture

by Lauren Sweeney, Office Manager
As an office manager in a physical therapy office, I see people working on a variety of exercises to strengthen injured body parts. While the specific exercises they do vary, I often hear the therapists encouraging patients to be mindful of their posture. This may be surprising - "posture" seems a word more at home in a Victorian etiquette class or with a book balanced on one's head than in a therapeutic setting. However, holding our bodies in the optimal position for efficient and effective work is as much a part of our health as diet and exercise ought to be. In fact, posture is something I have to think about every day: when I type at my desk or answer the phone, it's tempting to sit on my feet or hold the phone between my ear and my shoulder. While those body positions may be comfortable in the short term, the asymmetry can lead to long-term pain and strain.

It's easy to go too far the other direction as well. As I feel myself start to slouch at my desk, I sometimes attempt too much correction to achieve proper posture, squeezing my shoulder blades together in an attempt to sit up straighter. Unfortunately, this exaggerated movement is also not a neutral spine position, and can be every bit as uncomfortable as slouching. To achieve a neutral spine - meaning that the three natural curves of the spine are present and in good alignment - try the following:
Definitely not a neutral spine
   Open up your chest slightly and align your ears over your shoulders.
   Sit smarter by keeping your back in contact with the back of your chair and your feet squarely on the ground. Try not to cross your legs.
   If you work at a computer, position your screen to avoid straining forward and jutting your chin out. Be sure to seek proper corrective eyewear if needed.
   When using a mobile phone, move your phone up instead of dropping your head to your phone to avoid "texting neck."

Posture is not simply a description of one's physical state - it is also often a reflection of one's emotional and mental state. I feel more relaxed and confident when I'm maintaining strong posture: I'm able to breathe more easily and do my job more efficiently because my body is well supported. Conscious awareness of your own posture is the best way to start making a change in both how you look and feel. Good posture can instantly make you look an inch taller, more confident, younger, and slimmer. Why not give it a try?

No comments:

Post a Comment