Solutions for your Posture Problems
By: Jason Gallant, Registered Physiotherapist
As Fall rolls around, we all tend to get back to our normal routines at school or work, and this usually means more sitting. According to Statistics Canada, the average person spends 9.5 hours a day in sedentary pursuits at our desks, in front of computers, at meetings and in vehicles. This equates to approximately 69% of our waking hours. Most people have less than ideal sitting posture, and the increased time spent sitting can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain, not to mention other health risks that result from a sedentary lifestyle.
Check your posture right now. How do you look when reading this article? Is your back straight, or are you bent forward. Is your neck upright or are you looking down to read this? Are you stiff and sore at the end of a work day? Do you dread long drives in the car?
Here are a few quick ways to improve your posture and avoid the pain related to too much sitting:
- Sit less! Take frequent breaks during your work day. Set an alarm on your computer or phone that goes off every 30 minutes. Take a few seconds to stand up, stretch, and move around
- Get a standing desk. It's great to have the option to either sit or stand throughout the day to balance things out.
- Improve your workspace ergonomics. Many people's workstations are set up improperly, which can increase strain on your body throughout the day. A good physiotherapist can take a look at your workspace (even a picture of it) and recommended changes to your desk, chair, keyboard, etc to make sure you're in an optimal position to reduce your chance of injury.
- Exercise. There are many simple stretches and exercises you can do right at your desk to address tight muscles, strengthen weak ones, and improve your sitting posture. A physiotherapist can create an individualized exercise program to address your specific posture issues and improve your strength and muscle tone.
Sitting is inevitable in our daily lives, but having a greater awareness of your posture and making some of these changes can help you avoid injury and keep you pain free!