Healthy Posture in the Workplace: to Improve your health
Anything you do for eight hours a day is going to affect your health. This includes things as mundane as how you maintain your posture throughout the day in the workplace. This guide from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) can tell you how to determine if you have poor posture. And here’s why you should be concerned:
- Muscle tension: Sitting with your head forward can cause muscles in your neck to strain and become tense, particularly the trapezius muscle. Over the long term, this can change the curvature of your spine, leading to arthritis or decrease your range of motion.
- Risk of injury: Sitting in a poor posture frequently can harm your lower back by leading to uneven pressure on the lumbar disks. This can make you predisposed to a more significant injury while lifting a heavy object, playing sports, or in a motor vehicle accident.
- Blood circulation: Sitting for extended periods can pool blood in your legs, leading to swollen ankles and increased risk for varicose veins or a deep-vein thrombosis if other clinical risk factors are present.
- Decreased confidence: Body language affects your interactions and communication. Sitting with a forward head tilt, rolled-in shoulders, and slouched posture can affect your mood, energy, and confidence. Learn how to become more resilient to stress with Biofeedback training
Here’s how to create a healthy posture to improve your health:
- Create 90-degree angles at your knees, hips, and with elbows close to your sides.
- Keep your knees at equal height or slightly lower than your hips.
- Move your computer monitor to eye level.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed, with your head in an upright posture.
- Consider an upright standing posture.
Other easy tips to improve your health at the workplace:
- Remember to take breaks and move your body after sitting or standing for long periods of time. This will increase your circulation and improve your productivity.
- Exercise regularly with a focus on core stabilization.
- Remember to stretch hip flexor muscle groups to lengthen the Iliopsoas and Pectoralis muscles in the shoulder to undo the contraction of a hunched posture.
- Drink water because well-hydrated bodies have decreased muscle tension and improved energy.
- Consider Spinal Manipulation, Acupuncture, or Massage to help assist in the process
- Kinesio Taping Techniques can help provide additional feedback to improve posture.
Consider a visit with one of our doctors if you have any further questions about an ergonomic workstation. (Since not all workstations are at desks). It is important to evaluate your individual workstation and work with your physician to brainstorm ergonomic solutions that fit your needs.
Dr. Andrew Simon is a Naturopathic Physician and owner of Rebel Med Northwest. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in the Mind Body Medicine and Physical Medicine departments. He additionally spends time seeing patients at the NW Ballard Senior Center and exploring new technology’s influence on health. If not working Dr. Andrew Simon can often be found working out at the Olympic Athletic Club or enjoying the fine restaurants in Ballard and Fremont. Call to schedule a free 15-minute phone call or online telemedicine visit.