Good posture is only a timer away
It’s been a busy week. You’ve spent hours hunched over your computer screen, broken up by occasionally slouching on the couch when you do have time to relax. Between the stress and all the weird positions you’ve put your body in, your back and neck are sore and tight.
For many people, especially those working at a desk at home or in the office, it can be easy to have bad posture throughout the day without even realizing it—until later, when neck and back pain remind you that craning your neck over your laptop may not have been the best idea.
Lauren Pawlowski, physical therapist at Aurora Physical Therapy in Franklin, WI, has an easy tip.
“Set a timer to remind yourself to fix your posture. It’s something I tell my patients all the time,” said Pawlowski.
Improving your posture doesn’t have to be hard. Pawlowski recommends keeping your shoulders back and remembering to tuck your chin. Many people extend their head in front of their body when they are sitting and standing. This position can put strain on the suboccipital muscles at the base of your skull, small muscles that aren’t meant to carry the weight of your head all day long. You want to tuck your chin so that your head is resting above your neck and using the larger neck muscles that were meant to carry it through the day.
“Think of making a straight line with your ankles, hips, shoulders and head,” said Pawlowski. “That will help your posture.”
For those who are often stuck at a desk, make sure that your elbows are at 90 degrees to avoid compensating with hunching your back. It’s also a good idea to have the screen you are looking at around the same height or just below your eye level.
“A lot of having better posture is about building habits. Setting a timer is a great way to remind yourself to correct your posture, which will keep your back and neck healthier,” said Pawlowski. “Being physically active can also help you stretch and strengthen the muscles you use to have good posture. It can also keep your muscles balanced, which can improve your posture.”
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About the Author
Ben Hoekstra is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked in marketing and PR for various Milwaukee nonprofits and received his master’s degree in Corporate Communications from Marquette University. He enjoys the outdoors, cooking, and all things Milwaukee.