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Top Tips from a Physiotherapist to Work on your Posture

Working from home is awesome, but the unrelenting body aches from sitting on a desk all day long are not. The usual suspect? Bad posture. Body aches cause a strain on productivity, mood, and health. Below are tips from a physiotherapist that will help you work on your posture!

1. Avoid lower back pain from long hours of sitting with hip flexor stretches. 

Physiologist and Physical Therapist Stephen Urbach (2020) says “Hip flexors get tight when we sit too much and can cause low back pain.’’ To stretch your hip flexor muscles, kneel on one leg and place your other leg forward as you gradually tighten your behind. Keep your back straight and gently lean forward until you feel the stretch on your kneeling leg. Hold that position for about 20 seconds twice for each leg.

2. Practice sitting up straight with door frame stretches. 

Sitting all day can cause getting into the habit of slouching your shoulders, according to Physiologist and Physical Therapist Stephen Urbach (2020). To avoid this, take a few minutes of your time during the day to loosen your chest muscles. Press your  arms onto a door frame and lean forward until you feel a stretch on your chest. Keep that position for 20 seconds and repeat twice. 

3. Relieve the tension on your upper back and neck. 

When you make very little movements when sitting for hours on end, you start to feel a tension in your neck down to your upper back, Physiologist and Physical Therapist Stephen Urbach (2020) says. To loosen your muscles, turn your head to one side and and grab the back of your head with your arm to feel a stretch on the other side of your neck. Repeat twice after holding it for 20 seconds. 

4. Avoid hunching over your computer.

In describing common posture mistakes, Physiotherapist Nick Sinfield says that a hunched posture can lead to the development of a rounded upper back (2019). When you find yourself starting to hunch over your computer, push your chin inwards as you extend your neck upwards. Roll down your shoulders and squeeze your back gently. Finally, keep the arch on your lower back by pulling in your lower core muscles.

5. Relax your shoulders and back with cat and camel poses.

To do a cat and a camel pose, get on your hands and knees while keeping your chin tucked in. Inhale as you arch your back and then curve your spine the opposite way. Exhale as you do and lift your head up. According to Chris Johns (2016), Lead Physiologist of Physio By Design, doing cat and camel poses is one of the best and easiest to “combat the effects that poor posture can have on your everyday life.” 

6. Keep your workspace equipment at proper and comfortable heights. 

When you start to assume uncomfortable positions to accommodate the placement of your desktop, your desk, your chair, and other equipment, it’s time to revisit the layout of your workspace. Check out Harmoni standing desks that are built to help with your posture, productivity, and health!

 
Sources:
Johns, C. (2016, November 8). 6 easy ways to improve your posture. Physio By Design. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from https://www.physiobydesign.co.nz/blog/2016/10/26/posture-posture-and-posture. NHS. (n.d.). NHS choices. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/common-posture-mistakes-and-fixes/?tabname=how-much-exercisePosture. Physiopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2021, from https://www.physio-pedia.com/Posture. Uhrbach, S. (2020, September 28). Top 7 physiotherapy exercises to improve your posture - momentum physical therapy: Okotoks physio. MOMENTUM Physical Therapy | Okotoks Physio. Retrieved October 11, 2021, from https://www.momentumphysicaltherapy.ca/blog/okotoks-physiotherapy-posture-exercises.
A desk job minus the backaches? It's possible.