Self-isolation and shelter-in-place orders continue to drag on for many of us, and it’s taking a toll in more ways than one. If you’re fortunate enough to be working remotely, you may be spending a lot of time on the computer or phone. It’s a good bet that your posture is the least of your concerns right now, but posture has a big impact on your health. During this time of self isolation, here’s what to understand about posture and physical health.
The Role of Good Posture
When we discuss posture, it’s about more than standing or sitting up straight. The body has a preferred biomechanical alignment that reduces the impact on our muscles and joints from daily movement. When we sit and stand mindfully — lengthening the spine, pulling the shoulders back and the belly in — it reduces pressure on the low back. It may feel uncomfortable if you tend to slump, but with time, it will become more natural.
Slouching and slumping — any position in which your body is hunching forward or too far back — doesn’t just look sloppy. It has direct consequences on your physical and mental health:
- Impinging nerves that can cause pain in the neck, back, hips and knees
- A greater likelihood of injury
- Reduced breath function
- Less efficiency in your movements
- A drop in energy and mood
- Even a greater likelihood of depression
- Making Changes
This is a challenging time for many of us, but the fact remains that movement is important for the human body and our sedentary lifestyles are doing us no favors. That bed-car-chair-car-sofa-bed routine is bad enough. These days, we’re all more likely to be on the sofa for hours on end. And poor posture only exacerbates that kind of prone positioning. It’s stressful for the human body to maintain the same position for hours on end, which is why experts recommend taking short breaks to stretch and walk and move.
The good news is that posture can be adjusted and improved. While a postural analysis at Framework Personal Training here in Reno isn’t available at the moment, that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes now. If you’re working from home, set up a work station that allows you to sit up straight. Make sure your hips are higher than your knees when seated. Take breaks every twenty minutes or so to stand and stretch or take a quick walk. It will help clear your mind and focus your energy in addition to giving your body a much-needed break.
Dr. Lynelle McSweeney, a local chiropractor, shares these useful tips for improving your posture. You might also consider adding a short yoga routine to your day. There are all kinds of free videos online, and learning how to stretch your body effectively will help you improve your posture throughout the day.