Posture at work - how to improve it, why it's important

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12th Mar 2013
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Healthy body flexibility and movement diminishes as a consequence of inactivity and regular activity restores it. Joints maintain their youth essentially by virtue of movement. Diminished movement, from our desk-based office lives, can age the body prematurely.

When tissue isn't regularly moved, it dries out like the sponge that isn't used. If you don't move your body often at work and 'feed' your tissues, you may eventually find it very difficult to regain the flexibility and youthful ability you once had. Regular daily movement, even at work, will help you maintain your flexibility and even reverse the effects of ageing.

Reduce brain fog

If you think about oxygen as food for your brain, it is not hard to understand the concept of brain fog at work. Good desk posture allows for full lung expansion and diaphragm movement, which improves breathing. When you slouch, you reduce your vital lung capacity by up to 30 percent! Good posture increases your oxygen levels that heighten your concentration, alertness and energy levels and ultimately reduce brain fog at work.

Use these simple tips to increase oxygen levels at work:

  • open windows
  • get some office plants
  • drink more water (water has oxygen)

The one minute workout

Recent science is telling us that the three-times-a-week gym goer who sits all day in the office may not be as healthy as they think. The inactivity of constant sitting has our muscles go dead, our calorie burning plunge and increases our risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The good news is that you can counteract the risks of sitting all day with constant small movements. Compressed office bodies need the chance to recover after each hour of sitting. Most of you could easily commit to 60 seconds, eight times a day at work. It is even possible that eight minutes stretched out over the course of a day's work has more benefit than 60 minutes at the gym.

Try these simple desk-based exercises and create your own one-minute workout:

  • turn your head from side to side five times
  • roll your shoulders backwards five times
  • tuck your chin in and hold for three (repeat five times)
  • clench and relax your buttocks five times

Improve confidence

Your health and body posture speak volumes about you. How you hold your body is often a reflection of how you feel about yourself. What does your posture say about you? What do other people in the office think your posture says about you? Here are five top ways for you to speak confidence through posture.

  • Uncross your arms - crossed arms look cold and defensive
  • Stand tall – imagine there is a huge balloon attached to your breast bone lifting your chest
  • Stop the limp wrist – shake with a firm but not powerful handshake
  • Don't shuffle – stride confidently
  • Slow down – take note of your breathing

Posture is the key to maintaining a youthful body and regaining good posture should be the goal of anyone who wants to slow the effects of ageing. Always practise regular body movement, especially at the office.

This article was written by Paula Moore. With more than a decade of clinical experience in Chiropractice, Paula is a well-regarded posture trainer and thought leader. She is internationally trained, holds three degrees and has a fellowship in the physics of posture correction. She is the author of The Posture Doctor.

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By Richard Lane
21st May 2013 15:16

All very important points. Office workers spend most part of their waking time sat, often in front of a computer screen, under fluorescent lights.

Well-being in the workplace isn't as widespread as it should be, but I am glad we can have this discussion here.

In Japan, where they work the longest office hours in the world, they start the day with light exercises; the same in schools.

Perhaps it'd be a good idea to adopt the same strategy, or perhaps working less hours during the week would be beneficial for one's health.

Richard Lane, director at durhamlane, specialising in sales training London and sales training South East.

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