WHAT IS THE BEST SITTING POSTURE?
A great question with a complex answer. As many people across the country move from their normal office setup into their home offices, I am hearing this question more and more often.
THE BEST POSTURE IS YOUR NEXT ONE.
Wait… what does that mean?! It means that we, as humans, are not meant to sit in one position for 8 hours; our bodies are meant to move! Maintaining one specific posture is not ideal, but continuing to move into a different one is! There are optimal ways to position yourself and your workstation for your body to feel better by the end of the day. (Spoiler alert… keep reading for pictures of stretches and movements that can help you throughout your workday.)
UNDO WHAT YOU JUST DID.
If you go out for a run or a bike ride, you ideally come back and stretch your legs and back to ‘undo’ all of the stress put on those muscles. When we talk about sitting at a desk, we use certain muscles repetitively while requiring other muscles to remain still for hours. Without proper stretching and movement, this can lead to various aches and pains including neck pain, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis, and tightness in hips and legs. As we use our muscles throughout the day to complete tasks or hold postures, we need to ‘undo’ what we have done by allowing those muscles to stretch and move!
FINALLY, the good stuff!
These are great stretches and movements I recommend to undo the static posture you’ve had all day.
1) NECK STRETCH
To prepare for the movement, sit up nice and tall with your chin back (like you are going to make a double chin). Look all the way up and then look all the way down, and repeat this movement 10 times.
2) SHOULDER BACKWARD ROLL
Begin the exercise by sitting up tall, then pull your shoulders up, back, and down to allow for them to roll backwards. Complete this motion 10 times with both shoulders moving at the same time.
3) WRIST STRETCH TO OVERHEAD REACH
Start this exercise with your palms together so you feel a stretch in your forearms. Your eyes will follow your hands for this movement so start with your head down looking at your hands. Next, you will raise your arms up over your head to stretch your shoulders and follow with your eyes by looking up. Complete 10 times total.
4) SEATED THREAD THE NEEDLE
Start with both hands on your desk. You will reach one arm across your body and under the hand on the desk. This will rotate your mid back and allow for a stretch while also stretching your neck from side to side by keeping your eyes on your hand. Complete the same movement on the other side, and repeat 5 times on each side.
5) SEATED CAT/COW STRETCH
Start by placing your hands on your lap. The first movement will require you to look down and round your back, then reverse this motion to look up and arch your back. You will alternate these positions 5 times each.
How often should I do these? I would suggest completing these at least every hour. All of these can be done in your chair while you are working or you can set an alarm to remind you to MOVE!
Questions? E-mail me at [email protected] or leave a comment below!
Nika Ghassemikia PT, DPT, SCS