Earlier this week, during a coaching call with a corporate group I’m working with, I asked this question: 

“What is one piece of the health puzzle that is often overlooked?” 

Every answer was valid and included key components like sleep, motivation, hydration, mental health, play (lol), and self-care.

But the one I was looking for was posture!

I bet you just sat or stood up straight when you read that;)

Your Mom always told you to sit or stand up straight, and while she may not have realized it, when you have an aligned posture, ­your body reaps healthy rewards on many levels, including:

  • Less stress on your spine, which supports your bones
  • Opening your chest/airways to improve your breathing
  • More oxygen in your blood improves your circulation
  • A boost to the immune system
  • Relieving tension along the spine and nervous system
  • Better blood flow helps your brain and enhances your mood 

Sitting is meant as a break from movement, not the other way around.

Yet, especially in this day in age, most individuals can sit for many hours at a time, day after day, between working on a computer to eating a meal, watching tv, playing video games, etc. 

Approximately 70% of the waking day may be in a sitting position.* 

How does this affect your posture?  

In your upper body, a rounded back, rounded shoulders, and your chin poking forward translates into your shoulders rounding forward, weak upper back, and neck muscles.

Your walking stride can become slower and shorten in length (think shuffling), and your lower back can become sore.

Your daily functional ability can be at risk.

What can you do?  

Try a simple posture check.  

Seated: Use a chair with a backrest

  • Sit up straight in a chair so that your head ears align with your shoulders, which naturally moves your chin back.   
  • Shoulders in line with your hips (which straightens your back)
  • Keep the joints such as hips, knees, and ankles open slightly (more than 90°).
  • Keep knee joints at or below the hip joints and ankle joints in front of the knees. 
  • Keep feet flat on the floor or a footrest**

Standing: Use a wall to align properly

  • Stand against the wall, so the back of your head, shoulder blades, and buttocks touch the wall.
  • Your heels should be 2 to 4 inches away from the wall.
  • Slide a flat hand between your lower back and the wall to check the curve in your lower back.
  • Contract your bellybutton toward your spine if there is too much space, which will reduce the curve in your back and gently brings your lower back closer to the wall.
  • If there’s too little space behind your lower back, arch your back just enough so that your hand can slide behind you.
  • Walk away from the wall while holding a proper posture. Then return to the wall to check whether you kept a correct posture.***

What’s more, strength is a critical component of supporting our posture and staying flexible and mobile as we age. Strong muscles mean strong bones (since they’re attached), reducing the chance of injury and weakness. 

Strong muscles have the added benefit of keeping your metabolism fired up, which helps defend against fat gain as you age. 

Another tip is to avoid sitting in one position for extended periods of time. Set a timer to remind you to either stand up or switch places every 50 minutes to an hour.  

Optimally, take a walking break and use stairs whenever possible.  

Play on!

Coach Jan

 

P.S. Want to change your habits and have fun? 

  • Is every day groundhog day for your employees? Help them most by providing the support they need to find joy and optimal health even when they work at home. Let’s chat to see how I can help you and your team thrive, not just survive the current work environment.  Please email me at info@janetomstead.com with the word TEAM in the subject line.
  • To apply for 1:1 coaching with me, Click HERE to book a FREE Discovery Call, and let’s see if we are a good fit to work together.
*https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/sittingUNM.html
**https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/sitting/sitting_position.html
***https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/posture-align-yourself-for-good-health/art-20269950