Studies have shown that bad posture can increase feelings of depression, zap your energy and cut off your circulation. Couple that with sitting for long periods of time, and you’ve got a health hazard on your hands.
If you have an office job, it’s difficult to avoid the pitfalls of sitting and slouching. However, there are plenty of little tricks you can use to improve your posture gradually.
1. Keep your ears in line with your shoulders
If you’re leaning too far forward or backward, your posture is off-kilter. Use this trick whenever you’re sitting at your desk.
2. Practice small shoulder and chest exercises
Here are a few worth trying out:
- Try a wall angel (shown in the image above). Stand up against a wall with your legs spread apart and hold your arms up on either side of you in a 90-degree angle. Slowly raise your arms up and down. Do this at least 15 times.
- Shoulder shrugs: Lift and lower your shoulders up and down. The movement will loosen you up.
3. Uncross those legs
The correct way to sit in a chair requires you to place your feet flat on the ground. That means no crossing your legs or sticking them out in front of you.
If making your feet completely flat is uncomfortable, prop your feet on something. A small laptop stand or some old, thick books could work as makeshift props.
4. Pull back your shoulder blades
Drawing them back and down will bring your chest up and out, and help you avoid getting rounded shoulders.
5. Try using a lumbar support pillow
A lumbar support pillow does some of the work for you by supporting your spine. You’ll be forced into the correct position every time you sit down. For a quicker fix, use a folded or rolled-up towel.
6. Get up and move every so often
Sitting for long periods of time is really terrible for the body. Your blood flows slower, abdominal muscles get weaker, bones get thinner due to inactivity and your life expectancy decreases. Unless you use a standing desk, it’s difficult to avoid sitting all day.
If you can’t leave often, try to incorporate mini-walks into your daily schedule, getting up every hour or so. In addition, start taking the stairs, and take breaks to stand up and walk to bathrooms that are farther away. Integrating constant motion into your work routine also has an added benefit: It improves your efficiency and concentration.
7. Do sneaky desk exercises
Here are a few exercises you can do while sitting at your desk:
- Sit upright, then lift your arms overhead, keeping your elbows straight. Interlace your fingers and bend slowly to the right side, then the left side.
- Cross your left leg over your right leg. Cross your body, placing your right arm over your left leg. Look over your left shoulder and slightly twist your body. Repeat this on the opposite side.
- Stretch out your left leg, pointing your toes forward. Then point your toes upward. Repeat this five times, then do it with the other leg.