In our last post we talked about what good posture should look like when you’re sitting, standing, lifting, or just living. Now I know I may have mentioned this once or twice (or 50 or 60) times before, but a height adjustable desk is a great way to practice proper posture. In my last job, I was at a traditional seated desk for most of everyday and my posture was terrible. Now, I work behind my height adjustable desk. My posture is better, my core is stronger, and my back doesn’t hurt anymore. Of course there are other ways to practice good posture away from your height adjustable desk, and so today in this final post for Posture 101, I thought I’d go over some tips and tricks.
Lower back Stretch: Get on all fours with your fingers facing forward. Start by dropping your head and raising your back as you push the shoulder blades upward. Repeat in the opposite direction by pushing your chest downward and arching your lower back. If you’re familiar with yoga, this is simply the “Cat and Cow” stretch.
Knees to chest: While lying on your back, pull both knees to your chest with your hands behind your knees. Keep your tailbone on the floor and hold this stretch for at least 15 seconds. Then, if it feels good, feel free to rock up and down along your spine, giving yourself a nice little massage.
Shoulder blade squeeze: Put your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Now swing both your arms horizontally towards your back, like you are trying to reconnect your fingers behind your back, and then swing your arms back to the front. Do this slowly several times.
Shoulder blade lift: Extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height. Next, swing your arms vertically in opposite directions while keeping your arms straight. Do this slowly several times.
Core twist: Lie down on your back and cross your right leg over your body, so it is perpendicular to your left. Take your left hand and gently push on the left side of your lower back to twist your core in the opposite direction of your leg. Leave your right arm extended perpendicular to your body and gaze out over your fingertips. Do this again on the other side.
These are a couple of exercises for your lower back that don’t require any equipment. If you can get into the gym, though, feel free to add weights, use the machines, and use a bar or weights for rowing, which will strengthen your upper back as well as your lower.
Back extensions: Lying face down on the floor with your hands behind head, slowly lift your upper body a few inches off the ground and hold for about five seconds. Then lower, and repeat several times.
Superman: Again, lie face down on the floor with your arms extended overhead. As you lift up your right arm, lift up your left leg and squeeze your abs and back muscles. Lower, and lift the opposite arm and leg (your left arm with your right leg.) Repeat this several times as well.
Weird-Arm-Circle-Things: Okay, I don’t really have a name for this one, but it is one of my favorites. Extend your arms straight out at your sides, in the shape of a T. Lower your shoulder blades, squeeze them together like you’re trying to crush a pencil in between them, and then just make small circles with your arms, forward and then backward. It sounds simple, I know, but after about a hundred, you should start to feel it in your shoulders and in your upper back.
Pad your chair: Try adding a lumbar support pat to your office chair for when you’re sitting down.
Be on the edge of your seat: If you are sitting down at your height adjustable desk, or anywhere really, be sure to sit on the edge of your seat. This will automatically engage your core muscles and make you zip up your spine, as you aren’t leaning back against anything.
Sit on an exercise ball: If you want to take it one step further, try sitting on an inflatable exercise ball instead of a chair while you’re height adjustable desk is lowered.
Take breaks: Of course moving your height adjustable desk between sitting and standing is a great way to take breaks without pausing in your task, but when you can, get out of the office! Take a quick walk, or make some trips down the hall to the water cooler. Switching between sitting, standing, and moving will keep you healthier, happier, and improve your posture.
How do you feel after a long day of sitting versus a day of using your height adjustable desk? Comment below!