Today’s information age has many of us spending hours upon hours on the computer without even thinking of doing any type of micro pausing or taking brief breaks. This is because we never consider the consequences of sitting in one position too long or working many hours with bad posture. So how do you know you’re sitting right? We will first go over the effects on the body and mind, then we will show you the techniques on how to avoid repetitive stress injury and bad posture.
In a recent study from San Francisco State University, students were asked to walk down the hall slouched while others were told to skip. Reports showed that the slouchers had increased feelings of depression along with lower levels of energy compared to the skippers. Many other studies along with the one from San Francisco State University prove that slouching and bad posture will bring adverse effects on your health and productivity. The good thing is all of this can be preventable and we will show you how.
Before we get into prevention, lets first bring the reality of some possible health risks associated with bad posture:
Reduced Happiness and Less Productive: Having sluggish or hunched over posture will result in sluggish and below average performance, this could make you unhappy or more stressed and it will reflect on your productivity.
Headaches/Jaw Pains: When you lean your head forward you may not notice it but you sometimes clench your jaw and tighten face muscles, this can lead to headaches, jaw pains, neck and upper back pains and stress.
Shoulder/Back Pains: Slouching over a period of time with your back hunched over may cause muscle tensions. Over longer periods of time this could lead to your shoulders being permanently rounded or joint degeneration in your spinal column, and it will only get worse over the years.
Blocked Digestive System: I know you may not believe this but when you sit crunched over you are actually folding your intestines as well. This can affect the way your body digests its food like it was naturally designed to do.
Bad for your Personal Image: Have you noticed the way people view a person who is sluggish, hunched over and slouching? They see them as disorganized and unproductive people… This is how some could view you especially in your workplace. By having good posture and alignment it will increase your mood and show people you are in fact a motivated and highly productive person.
Some studies also show it relating to Spider Veins, Induced Stress, Decrease in Lung Function, Gastrointestinal Pains, Misconception, and the list goes on.
Ergonomics Center shows us how having proper posture should look like while working at a desk.
It is recommended to take a break every 30 minutes to an hour, you can add 5 minute micro pauses in between if needed. So just set a time or watch the clock and get up to stretch, adjust, refocus your eyes, or just get up and walk around a bit. Whatever you need to do to avoid being in the same position too long. Now that we have talked to you about posture, let’s go over some quick and easy exercises and stretches you can do while you take a break, or before and after computer sessions. These are great to keep muscles loose and your body from getting tense. Remember to stop if feeling dizziness, intense pain or frequent reoccurring pain and consult your doctor.
These desk stretches will take anywhere from 5-6 minutes and should be done every hour or when you’re feeling stiff throughout the day.
Next is a Qi Gong Spinal Stretching Exercise. Qi Gong is a traditional Chinese practice of aligning body, breath, and mind for health, meditation, and martial arts training. This will stretch the entire spinal column and aligns the vertebrae. It promotes free flow of cerebrospinal fluids and energy. The technique will encourage energy to rise up along the spinal channels into the brain.
Qi Gong Spinal Stretching Technique
1. This can be done by standing or sitting on a low stool or chair.
2. Keep your feet wider than shoulder width. Place your hands firmly on your knees, keep your spine erect.
3. Inhale, then extend the chin and lean forwards, stretching the entire spine as you follow your chin forwards and down between your knees.(A)(B)(C)
4. At that point, tuck your chin in against your chest, arch your spine upwards and start lifting your torso back up by pushing the hands against the knees.(D)(E)
5. Keep your chin tucked in until the spine is once again erect, and inhale slowly as you rise.(E)
6. Then raise the head, look straight ahead, and commence another cycle on exhalation.(F)
7.Main thing is to alternately bow and arch the spine to stretch the vertebrae in conjunction with deep synchronized breathing.
We hope these exercises and techniques will keep your body and mind aligned to help reduce unneeded stress and pain. Just remember to avoid back and neck pain through proper posture, exercising, stretching and good health.