The average professional woman takes 5200 steps a day, spends 8 hours at her desk; in a year, that’s more than one million steps and 2000 hours sitting at work! All these steps and all the repetitious movement while you’re sitting can lead to weakened muscles, headaches, and backaches. One easy way to fight back is to have good posture. Here are seven easy steps for improving your posture.
Exercise every day – Regular exercise helps strengthen your core, which leads to better posture naturally. Low-impact exercises, like yoga and tai chi, strengthen your back, neck, and spine while relaxing your core muscles and relieving tension that can cause your muscles to tighten. While you’re at work, simple chair exercises like pelvic tilt, chin tucks, and leaning back as far as you can will help loosen up those tight back and neck muscles without leaving your office.
Nix the heels – Stilleto heels might make you feel sexy and powerful, but they can be incredibly damaging to your back and feet and can unbalance your center of gravity, making good posture almost impossible. Your best bet? Invest in stylish flats or wear more supportive shoes unless you’re attending an important meeting.
Make your work station comfortable – A comfortable work station can make those eight hours a day (or 2000 hours a year!) easier on your body. Check with your HR department to see if they offer ergonomic experts that will help you design a workspace that’s healthy and functional. Your chair should have back support, and there should be support between your wrist and your keyboard. Your monitor should be about six inches below your gaze.
Feet flat on the floor – For best posture, you should sit with the soles of your feet on the floor. This forces you to sit up straighter than you would if your legs were crossed. If you’re vertically challenged, buy a footrest for your desk.
Stick with small bags – Does your bag hold everything and the kitchen sink? It’s time for you to lighten your load. Large bags and purses can throw off your center of gravity and can strain neck and shoulder muscles. Smaller, lighter bags are good, but a backpack, which evenly distributes the weight of items on both shoulders, is your best bet, especially if you’re carrying heavy items a long way.
Stand straight – Being aware of your posture is the first step in improving it. Make sure your ears, shoulders, and hips are aligned while you’re walking or standing.
Support your sleep – It’s not enough just to get a full night’s sleep – you should have a supportive mattress and pillow to help your body heal during the night. Your mattress should be firm to ensure proper back support. Sleep on your side or your back; sleeping on your stomach can stretch your back muscles the wrong way, leading to soreness and pain the next day. Use a pillow that aligns your head with the rest of your body.