A New Year. A New You.

Break the old posture habits that stress the body.

Now that you've been back at work for a few weeks, you may be noticing the return of a few aches and pains that the holiday season had dispelled. Before you lose all the relaxation benefits of your break, let's take action against the body stressors that come with having to work at a desk.

Do you spend a lot of time seated? Here’s what to do.

Sitting in the same position for extended periods of time can cause back and neck strain. It’s important to be aware of your seated posture to minimise strain. Here are the actions you can take:

  • Choose a chair with good lower back support.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Tilt the seat of the chair slightly forward, so that your knees are lower than your hips.
  • Hold in your stomach to support your back.
  • Keep both feet on the floor.

That's a good start! But there is more to do.

When we're focussed on our work (especially on a computer screen!), we tend to lose awareness of our posture. We stop fighting gravity, and we get so drawn into what we're doing or what we're reading that our posture alters considerably:

  • Shoulders slump down.
  • Backs round.
  • Necks stretch forward.
  • Chins jut towards our screen.
  • Arms become locked in position.

It's important to check in with our bodies regularly and re-adjust to a neutral posture that induces the least stress. So take frequent breaks to check your posture, and stretch! Set an alarm an alarm to remind you to check in with your body until you establish the habit.

Try these stretches for quick relief.

You can do them without leaving your desk.

  1. Are your shoulders hunching forward? Do you feel the strain across your back?
    Use exercise 1.
  2.  

  3. Do you tend to crane your neck forward towards your computer screen, with your chin pushed forward?
    Do exercise 2.
  4.  

  5. If you spend a lot of time typing or using a mouse, you may find that your arms become “locked” in this T-Rex position.
    Exercise 3 can help.

 

 

Poor Computer Posture - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner
Exercise for shoulder hunch - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner

Clasp your hands behind your back and pull your shoulder blades together.

Hold for 30 seconds.

Exercise for Chin Jut - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner

Sit up straight. Pull your chin back as far as you can, and hold this position for 30 seconds.

You’ll feel your neck muscles respond.

Exercise for locked elbows - Ralph Dinkelmann - Body Stress Release Practitioner

Stretch your arms out in front of you at shoulder height; palms up.

Then pull your fingertips towards the floor, and hold for 30 seconds.

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