Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Improve your posture at your desk

This post was a request from my friend Debbie, and Debbie, I'm sorry it took me a month to get around to it, but here it is!

To improve your posture both at your desk and while standing, lifting, walking, etc., it is important to strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles.  To identify the muscle groups that are weak or tight, first take note of the type of posture:

Forward Head posture (heads leans forward)
Trapezius aka "traps"--the large muscle at the base of the neck and upper back
Deltoids aka "rear deltoids"--the muscles of the shoulders, specifically, the back of the shoulders
Latissimus dorsi aka "lats"--the muscles of the upper back

Thoracic Kyphosis posture (head leans foward, mid back hunched, hips pushed forward)
Latissimus dorsi aka "lats"--the muscles of the upper back
Rhomboids--the muscles of the mid back
Pectoralis major aka "pecs"--the muscles of the chest

Lumbar Lordosis posture (abs pushed out, hips pulled back)
Lower back--the muscles at the base of the spine
Rectus abdominus aka "abs"--the muscles of front of the core
Internal and external obliques--the muscles of the sides of the core
Hip flexors--the muscles at the front of the hips

Sway back posture (abs pushed out, tight lower back, hamstrings and glutes)
Lower back--the muscles at the base of the spine
Rectus abdominus aka "abs"--the muscles of front of the core
Internal and external obliques--the muscles of the sides of the core
Gluteus maximus, medius and minimus aka "glutes"--the muscles of the "rear end"
Biceps femoris aka "hamstrings"--the muscles at the back of the thigh

To strengthen the muscles involved with these postural problems, I recommend purchasing a resistance tube if you do not have access to gym equipment.  A resistance tube is inexpensive, easy to use and store, and can be used at home.  It works well for back and shoulder exercises.  Perform 2 sets of 10-12 reps of each exercise.

Stretches can be done at your desk or after your workout.  The chest, back, shoulders and traps stretches can be done seated or standing.  Hold each stretch for 20-30s.


Helpful equipment:
If you've considered or tried using a stability ball to replace your desk chair, you might have run into some problems.  The height of the ball might not have matched the height of the desk, and if it did, it might have been to high for your legs (for your feet to be flat on the floor).  This can lead to leaning, slouching or being up on your tip-toes--which were the exact problems you were trying to correct by choosing to use a stability ball!  A Fit Disc is the same material as a stability ball, but much more compact.  Place it on the seat of your desk chair, then adjust your chair height and armrest height accordingly.  You can work up to using it for greater periods of time over a few weeks by alternating between the chair and the Fit Disc.

If you often cross your legs, you might want to consider placing a step stool under your desk to put your feet on.  This keeps your feet flat, and your knees and hips pointing forward, while reducing the urge to cross your legs, which can restrict circulation.

Tips:
  • Set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and walk around or stretch at regular intervals.
  • If you work in a multi-floor office building, set your default printer to another floor so you walk a set of stairs to collect your printouts.
  • Perform stretches during phone meetings.
  • Drink water or tea throughout the day to stay hydrated--it will also make you get up regularly to visit the washroom.

I hope these tips help!  If you have any specific questions about exercise or stretch technique, feel free to leave a comment!

2 comments:

  1. By just using the best posture brace you can easily fix the issues with your rounded shoulders and the back also. It helps us to look perfect and also it helps us to stay fit and active.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hip flexor strain can be painful and uncomfortable but is rarely a cause for concern. Rest and stopping activities that might have caused the strain will give a person the best chance to heal and recover quickly. learn more here

    ReplyDelete