‘Sit up straight, don’t slouch’ a phrase I’m sure most people will have had shouted at them at some point during their childhood. But, how often do you think about your posture now and the impact that it may be having on your wellbeing?
If you’re an office worker you spend most of your day sat down, now, how many of you can say that you do this with a lovely straight back, hands out at a 90-degree angle resting perfectly on your keyboard. Your feet on a perfectly placed footrest and in a chair that supports your back from top to bottom? Let me guess, not many of you will be nodding to all those statements. Yet, how you sit has a massive impact on not just the health of your back but much more.
According to the NHS, Back pain is costing the UK one million years of lost productivity each year. Good posture can help reduce the impact prolonged sitting can have on not only your back but your overall health as well.
Benefits of good posture
Reduced lower back pain
Correct posture will relieve the pressure on your lower back and therefore lead to less pain
Poor posture can increase muscle tension in the back of the neck which can cause headaches.
Increased energy levels
If your muscles are in the optimal position, ie you’ve good posture, then they won’t need to work as hard, meaning you’ll tire less easily.
Less neck and shoulder tension
Slouching pushes your head forward with puts strain onto your neck and shoulder muscles. A more upright position will reduce the stain these muscles are put under.
Lower risk of abnormal wearing of joints
Your body is like a well-oiled machine. Everything has its place and role to do and does it perfectly. However, knock something out of place and it all goes wrong. Sitting with your legs crossed or with one leg tucked under, for example, will cause abnormal wearing to joints.
Increased lung capacity
It sounds obvious but if you slouch you squash your lungs and reduce their capacity. Sitting up straight gives them more room to expand.
Improved circulation and digestion
As above compressing your internal organs constrains their ability to do their job. Giving them room allows blood to flow more freely.
Improved core strength
We tend to slouch because it is easy, it takes less work that maintaining an upright position. But sitting up straight will help to strengthen those all-important core muscles.
There are several things that you can do to help your employees with their posture whilst at work. Firstly, ensure that all members of staff have a workstation assessment carried out, which checks a number of items such as computer screen position and chair height.
You can highlight the pitfalls of bad posture and give tips on how to reduce the slouch at work – such as taking regular breaks or undertaking simple exercises such as rolling the shoulders back and together. We run a posture awareness workshop that is packed full of advice.