When I think of good posture, I am reminded of my youth. I can remember days when we would attempt to walk across the room balancing a book on our head, which at the time, was the ultimate test of good posture and poise. Sitting up straight in the chair was also very important as it generally expressed an individual’s level of attention in school. Slouching in the classroom conveyed boredom and lack of interest in whoever was speaking. There were no health benefits associated with posture that I was aware of at that time. The goal was to be polite and polished. Little did I know how useful developing good posture would be to me later in life.
May is National Correct Posture Month which promotes posture awareness and its impact on health. Posture is how you hold your body while standing, sitting, lifting, bending, or reaching and is gaining recognition as a growing health issue as more people develop a permanent slump from sitting in front of a computer. Posture related back problems are the number three reason for all doctor visits and a whopping 80% of Americans suffer back pain within their lives. (About Posture Month, n.d.)
So, while it may have not seemed crucial in grade school, as adults sitting at a desk 7+ hours a day, correct posture is becoming increasingly important. It is necessary that our bodies are positioned correctly. Poor posture can negatively affect not only our mood, but our confidence and our energy levels as well. In addition to that, slouching can reduce lung capacity leading to shortness of breath, thus impacting how well you work. The tension that poor posture creates in your back, neck and shoulders will not only contribute to headaches, but could make you more susceptible to injury. Put it all together and it becomes clear that posture impacts your work productivity. Making an effort to improve our posture then, may just give our career a boost as well. (7 Benefits of Improved Posture at Work and Exercises to Help, 2020)
Shoulder shrugs are ideal in addressing the toll that sitting at the desk takes on your neck and shoulders. This exercise can relieve tension in your neck, shoulders, and upper back—can be done anywhere-- at any fitness level and only takes a few minutes. Shoulder shrugs target the trapezius muscles (located on either side of your neck). As these muscles become stronger, you will boost the strength of your shoulder, neck and upper back muscles which will make it easier to maintain proper posture. (Watson, 2019)
Stand up straight, feet shoulder width apart and look straight in front of you with your head set back on top of your shoulders. Relax your arms and let them just hang down by your sides. Use those trapezius muscles we just discussed between your shoulders and your neck to shrug your shoulder up towards your ears. Then relax and lower your shoulders down and repeat. Once you have the technique down, join us in Tycor’s “Shrug Off Bad Posture Challenge” for the month of May. Follow the calendar, and hopefully we’ll all be standing taller and working more efficiently by month’s end!
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7 Benefits of Improved Posture at Work and Exercises to Help. (2020, August). Retrieved from www.usa.edu: https://www.usa.edu/blog/how-to-improve-posture/
About Posture Month. (n.d.). Retrieved from posturemonth.org: https://posturemonth.org/about-posture-month/#:~:text=Posture%20Month%202022,posture%20related%20to%20modern%20technology
Watson, K. (2019, June 18). Benefits of Shoulder Shrugs and How to Do Them. Retrieved from www.healthline.com: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/shoulder-shrugs