Good posture does not simply mean sitting up straight. Slouching over a computer keyboard all day can create a painful chain reaction throughout your body that can result in shoulder, neck or back pain, if not a combination of all three. Unfortunately, we don’t often feel the warning signs of this gradual wear-and-tear, we only feel the pain at the end of the process.
If sitting is part of your everyday, even if you try to lead an active lifestyle, then you should attempt to combine stretching exercises into your working days or evening: Stretching and Yawning don’t count! Browse the following list, and see if you can spare a few minutes daily to address your posture problems.
Back and Chest Stretching
To stretch your back muscles lie on your back, with knees bent at 90 degrees, and place your calves on the seat of a chair. Straighten your arms out from the shoulders with your palms up. Relax, breathing deeply, letting your low back settle into the floor. Hold the position for 5 minutes.
Ensure to stretch your chest: While in the same position. Lace your fingers, palms together, with your arms extended above your chest toward the ceiling. Extend your arms, keeping your elbows straight, over your head to the floor behind you. Repeat 30 times with a steady, controlled movement, and don’t forget to breathe.
Back to your back. Lie on your back with your feet on the wall and your knees bent less than 90 degrees (Your ‘glutes’ should only be about four to six inches from wall and knees almost touching chest). Lace your fingers behind your head to support your neck. Keep your elbows back while looking at the ceiling. Exhale as you use your stomach muscles to lift your shoulders, elbows and head off the floor then lower. Perform this for 1 minute.
Leg and Knee Exercises
The kneeling hip-flexor stretch: Kneel (preferably on a padded floor). Bring your right knee into a 90 degree angle and push your left leg back so it’s at an angle where you feel stretch in the front of your hip. Keep your legs parallel to each other and place your hands on your right knee and let your hips sink forward to the floor, keeping your upper body straight. Do not lean forward. Hold for 1 minute and switch legs.
Supine hip-flexor stretch: Lie on your back with your right leg bent and resting on a chair at a 90 degree angle. Place your left leg straight on the floor, keeping your toes pointed up so your knee and foot do not roll out. Place your arms straight out from your shoulders with your palms up.
Breathe deeply and relax your body. Remain in this position for 10 minutes, then repeat on your other side.
The ‘Air bench’: Sit against the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent at 90 degrees, heels straight under or slightly in front (not behind) of your knees. Keep your feet pointing straight ahead, push your lower back into wall and keep pressure on your heels. Press your shoulders back, keeping your head up, and relax your shoulders, neck, arms and hands. Hold for 90 seconds.
Of course, if you start to feel any discomfort, gently move yourself out of the position.
The Right Equipment
You can always address pain and suspected injury due to stress and bad posture by investing in the right working equipment. Check into the right ergonomic keyboards and, if you are serious, search for ‘Mechanical Key keyboards’ to give your fingers a break from their own stress!