From work to workouts, many of us have had to transition our usual routine from gyms and offices to our homes in the last year. With that, may come some compromises, ones that may have put your posture on the back burner. Perhaps you moved from an office space that was ergonomic and set up for your specific needs to your dining room table, or whatever makeshift setup you managed to throw together, and maybe you went from working out with a trainer to having to make do with space and equipment you have at home. Those little compromises can have a big impact on your posture and overall health.
Why should you make posture a priority in 2021?
Posture impacts more than you may think. Not only can poor posture cause pain and stiffness, we’ve all felt that at one point or another but long-term it can cause you to develop a hunched appearance, play a part in incontinence and digestive health issues, poor circulation, headaches, and even eye strain. While we may be working from home, and skipping the gym for a while yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t prioritize your posture and your health this new year!
How Bad Posture Impacts Your Health
We all know that posture is important; our parents told us to stop hunching over the dinner table, our teachers constantly told us to sit up straight, but it’s just one of those things that’s so easy to forget to pay attention to that, well, we just don’t pay attention to it. But we’ve all experienced what not maintaining proper posture can do; whether it’s headaches and eye strain while you sit at your desk all day for work or a sore low back or neck from hunching over or having the wrong chair. While those instances may have been temporary, bad posture, if left unchecked, can impact your health long-term.
Back and Neck Pain
One of the most obvious effects of poor posture is pain. Lower and upper back pain are common concerns, but people that sit all day at work or those that have jobs involving repetitive movements or lifting will often find they have back or neck pain that gradually increases as the day goes on, while some may eventually find that neglecting their posture long-term can lead to chronic neck and back pain.
Headaches and Eye Strain
Not having an ergonomic setup for your computer or hunching over your screen can have some ill effects. Namely, muscle tension in the neck which can lead to more headaches and eye strain.
If you’re someone that eats at their desk, or quickly returns to a sitting, and more specifically a slouched posture after eating this can be having a negative impact on your digestion. If you find you have more acid reflux when you go back to sitting after your lunch break or notice any other digestive issues such as slow transit time, your posture may be to blame!
Simple Ways to Prioritize Your Posture
The good news is that prioritizing your posture is easy, and while it takes some time to incorporate these new habits into your day-to-day lifestyle, they’ll quickly become something you’re more mindful of for years to come. So how can you prioritize your posture?
Exercise is an important part of gaining and maintaining proper posture, but it’s often beneficial to seek support from a personal trainer or physiotherapist such as Future Fitness Training when you’re first getting started. A trained professional can help direct you towards the right exercises and focus on your particular needs as well as make sure you’re doing your corrective exercises…correctly.
Taking note of your office setup, or the places you spend most of your time sitting, as well as how you find yourself sitting is important. If you have a job that requires you to sit for extended periods of time, make sure that your desk setup is ergonomic – a proper desk chair with lumbar support, a footrest if necessary, a laptop, or monitor riser for your screen, etc. You can easily do an ergonomic assessment of your space yourself, or ask your chiropractor or physiotherapist.
Take Movement Breaks
Take a break from sitting every 15 minutes to half-hour and take a short walk to the kitchen for some water, take a bathroom break, walk to check the mail. Whatever it is, set a timer and make sure you break and change positions frequently. You’re more likely to slouch without realizing it and throw posture out the window when you’ve been in the same position for too long.