Poor posture can be like a cast. When people have broken leg or arm, it is put in a cast, after awhile they will feel pain on their muscles. However, in a few weeks they’ll get used to the new position. After our bone is completely healed and the cast comes off, our muscles tend to become accustomed to the static position and resist movements. Poor posture happens due to long-term habit and after awhile a normal posture, would feel awkward to us.
What Feels Nice May Be Wrong
We love soft, cushiony sofa or chair. It’s wonderful to flop into it after a tiring day at work, with a TV in front of you, it’s a haven of comfort and a great way to unwind. However, sinking into your couch may put your body into an unnatural posture that is different with how it’s been the whole day. It feels nice, of course. What happen though, we can easily fall asleep on the couch. Although soft surface feels comfortable, it can fail to provide adequate support for your muscles and bones.
A comfortable easy chair is not your only problem. Many chairs and seats that seem supportive are actually major letdowns. Car seats, for example, are adequate for short commute, however if you plan to drive for 500 miles or more, your neck, shoulders and back will be affected. Car designers want their car to look pretty to attract buyers and of course, good design is a major factor we often think about when we buy a car. As the result, some ergonomic considerations are usually set aside, when people design a car seat. For example, many car seats poorly support the underside of your thighs, consequently, your knees and ankles can be subjected to more loads.
If you put ergonomic factors into consideration when buying a car, driving for more than three hours will be more bearable. You should try a car before buying it, to know how it feels when you need to drive it for hours. Generally, if the salesperson accompanies you, the dealer may allow 30 to 45 minutes of test drive. Other than concentrating on your car performance, you should also listen to your back. Do you feel any discomfort on your back, shoulder and neck? If you really like the car, but the seats don’t appear to be ergonomic, you can also test accessories like back supports and extra cushion, to know whether they can make a difference.
If your car has cruise control, you should change your sitting position every so often, doing so will not only improve gas mileage, but make your muscles feels better. You should also stop every two hours and walk around for 5 to 10 minutes. You’ll drive more safely, because you’re more alert and feel better even after driving for the entire day.
Some people like chairs with armrests, because it gives them a sense of authority. But, unless they are adjustable, those armrests may only give you back pain. For example, if the rest are a little to high, your shoulders may go up unnaturally. You don’t need to buy a $1500 massage chair for your office, but $30 steno chair also lacks adjustment capabilities. When buying a chair for your office, you should check its adjustments and backrest. Even if you have an award-winning office chair for its ergonomic value, you should still get up and walk around every hour. By walking for two or three minutes, you can give your muscles an opportunity to change position.
Many first rate office chairs are quite pricey, but in the long run, they can avoid aching back, drug prescriptions and even surgeries, which comparatively prevent larger expenses and lower productivity. When choosing an office chair, you should know areas of your body that need the most support while sitting. For example, unlike others, you may need armrests on your chairs. If so, make sure the armrests allow your shoulders to appear straight when you are using them. Other employees may prefer headrests and bigger backrests. Currently, the prices of chairs are becoming more reasonable. A typical computer chair is about $100, while the more ergonomic types are around $250.
You should be aware that even when a chair is advertised as being ergonomic, it may not be designed based on common ergonomic principles. For example, the infamous Aeron Chair is criticized from being not entirely capable of supporting people who sit on it. In fact, the designer admitted that he was not hired to create chair for a 8-hour workday, but rather to tweak the original design of the company’s existing chairs.
Many people sit all scrunched up like they’re hiding from a stalker. Often our chin nearly touches the chest and our shoulders barely brush the ears, which often make breathing a little difficult to do. If your diaphragm and lungs can groan, they would!
If you tend to hunker, try to sit straight, hold your chin high, just enough to allow people see the front of your neck. Pull your shoulders back, so it forms a straight line when seen from above. Take a deep breath, you should feel the difference. Years of bad habits can make hunkering feels normal to you. On some people, hunkering even while standing up can still feel comfortable Hunkering can throw your skeletal system out of whack, due to uneven weight distribution.
Often we find ourselves perch at the very edge of our chair as if we’re terrified with scenes of a late-night horror flick. The moment you’re aware about the awkward sitting posture is when muscles on your back go numb, as the result you need to stagger around, before you can straighten up.
Your couch should give adequate support, which won’t hurt your back even after watching TV for an hour. A good chair should allow your back to rest on solidly on chair’s back, both thighs perpendicular to the floor and your feet flat on the floor.
You may find that a kneeling chair can provide enough comfort for your back when working at the office for long periods of time. The chair distributes weight across our shins just below the knee. It may prevent poor sitting posture and allows our body to make natural alignment. However, you should talk with your doctor about a good chair for you, if you have sciatica, herniated disk or other back problems. Good quality kneeling chairs are usually available of reputable furniture stores or back-care stores.
Lying Down on the Job
Lying down at office doesn’t make you a lazy person, in fact it can improve your alertness, reinvigorate you and may even increase your productivity. You don’t have to take a nap, just try to do a horizontal stretch during lunch time. Of course, you shouldn’t sprawl in the hallway, you can use a couch on the employee lounge or break room. If there’s no place for you to lie down, you can use portable exercise mat.
While lying down, place both arms on your side. Slowly lift your knees, until the small of your back is pressed firmly against the floor. After 30 seconds, lower your knees, until your pelvis tip slightly forward and shoulder pulled up. Your muscles will be relaxed as the tension flows from your body. Take five deep slow breaths. A moment before you get you, raise you knees again. When getting up, you should turn onto any side and pivot. Don’t do a sit-up as it will tighten your back muscle again. The whole session may take only five minutes, but it is a valuable investment for your back health and can improve your long-term productivity.