Mom was right. “Don’t slouch!” We’ve all heard it over the years. Sitting slouched over computers for hours a day, whether for work or play, causes feelings of fatigue, upper back pain, stiffness, neck pain and headaches by the end of the day. In addition to slouching, stress makes us hold our shoulders in a constant raised position which only aggravates all the above symptoms.
A lumbar support can help with your posture while sitting but doesn’t do anything for strengthening those muscles mentioned above, or getting air into your lungs.
Eventually, you find yourself in that same “slouched” position even when not on the computer; like eating, walking, cooking.
The problem with bad posture is:
- We are not able to breath air fully into our lungs, resulting in tiredness and decreased thinking capacity due to less oxygen delivery to the brain.
- The chest, shoulder, and back muscles will atrophy (decrease in size and strength) from the constant sagging and being underused.
- It causes you to look older and 10 pounds heavier when you slouch.
- The upper portion of the spine can eventually develop a permanent outward curve that doesn’t go away, and is very unattractive. It’s what gives older persons that “old age” look.
At first it may be tiring to sit this way if your muscles aren’t used to it. But over time, your muscles will strengthen enough that you’ll find it actually feels much better than slouching and you’ll be able to do it without even thinking about it. Be persistent, it takes time to change old habits!
A lot of problems can be prevented by doing a simple shoulder roll and deep breathing as often as possible until it becomes habit. If you aren’t exercising regularly, the bottoms of your lungs rarely get that breath of fresh air. That can lead to a whole different set of problems.
How do I do “The Shoulder Roll”?
You will need to sit upright in your chair, or stand tall, arms at your side. Do the following slowly and with purpose:
- Start with a very deep breath, hold for a few seconds then let it out.
- Lift your shoulders as if trying to touch your ears with your shoulders.
- Roll your shoulders back as if trying to touch the shoulder blades together in your back.
- Slide your shoulders downward.
- Relax your shoulders and neck into a neutral position.
That’s it! Your goal is to stay or get back into this position as often as possible, especially for those tasks that cause you to lean over.
Once again, deep breath…..lift…..roll…..slide…..relax.
Once this is done enough times, you will be able to do the deep breath at the same time.
This is a simple, easy move that can give a healthier approach to your day!