Your posture is affected by the way you behave physically, all day long. Fortunately, below are several tips on how to improve posture at work. Even more beneficial, good posture can improve your overall health and may also enrich your success on the job!
The Story Front to Back
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the term “bad posture”? Slouching. Yes, of course! Carrying ourselves upright requires awareness and practice. When we’re walking, we’re not generally thinking about our shoulders or our backs. When we’re sitting, we often forget that it’s easy to strain our necks.
Clearly, slouching causes stress to back, shoulder, and neck muscles. But besides that, it inhibits the way you breathe. With your chest concave, you can’t possibly take in as much oxygen as your lungs and blood would love.
Believe it or not, poor posture also effects proper digestion. It can also inhibit good sleep. Aren’t those enough physical reasons to “straighten up” and improve posture at work, at least?
Adding a Chapter to the Back
There are other negative aspects from slouching that effect more than just the physical body. Studies have shown that bad posture can increase feelings of depression. Isn’t that sad?
Your energy level can also get zapped. Your muscles have to work overtime to meet the strains of misalignment. It’s no wonder you get tired more easily. Also noteworthy, your circulation can be impinged from sitting (or standing) for long periods and from crossing your legs.
Improve Posture at Work Because…
Perhaps the worst news about slouching is the way others perceive you. Author of Posture, Get it Straight, reports that people in the office “do not perceive you as vital.”
In addition, a study from Harvard a few short years ago shared a similar theme. Those participants who carried themselves upright, with open shoulders, actually became more powerful. Their tests revealed a 20% increase in testosterone levels and a 25% decrease in cortisol levels. They appeared more confident, along with feeling more confident.
A more recent Harvard study showed that people with powerful poses were more successful at job interviews and other types of social evaluations. So, if you want to appear more confident and competent, it may be time to look into how to improve your posture at work.
Ways to Practice and Improve
So, we are all in agreement that there are many significant reasons why proper posture and body alignment is crucial to your overall health. With that, let’s take a look at some simple methods for posture improvement:
- Up and down—no hands! Practice getting up from your seat without using your hands. Sit up straight, bend your knees, use your glutes, and pull in your abdominals. The worst that can happen is you fall back into your seat. Once you get the hang of it, practice mindfully getting up out of your chair and sitting down (straight back) without using your arms.
- Eyes to screen. Your eye level to your screen should be so that your chin is horizontal/parallel to the ground. If it’s not, raise or lower your seat. You can always raise or lower your monitor as well.
- Stand at attention. If you’re at a standing workstation, don’t slouch onto or over the desk. That defeats the purpose. Additionally, keep your weight distributed between both legs. Try not to lean on a hip.
- Breathe in, pull your shoulders blades up and back. Exhale, drop and relax them naturally back. If you feel your shoulders slouching forward again, repeat the breath and lift. Check to see that both shoulders are even (that one is not higher than the other.)
- Try using a lumbar support pillow. This should support your lower back and remind you to sit up straight.
- Keep your ears in line with your shoulders. This will keep your neck in proper posture position.
- Roll your shoulders and slowly move your neck every few minutes. About every half hour, get out of your seat and walk around or stretch.
There are many ways how to improve posture at work and at home. Taking advantages of these tips should help you physically and mentally. And whenever you notice yourself slouching, get “back” at it! For more tips on overall health improvement, check out GetThrive!