Let’s face it, try as hard as you might you can only eliminate so much sitting from your daily work day. However, there are several things you can do to improve your posture while you are sitting.

But before we get to those things, let’s first talk about the effects of bad posture. Do you have headaches, fatigue and back pain after spending a day at work? It could be caused from bad posture – specifically if your back is arched forward of your spine – called head forward posture.

If you do not consciously sit up straight, the tendency is to bend forward, especially if you are doing your work on a computer. This puts excessive force on your neck and back causing pain because they have to support the weight of your head forward of your spine instead of that weight centered on top of it.

The remedy? Sit with your ears, shoulders and hips in vertical alignment with each other. This is a “neutral” position as it does not produce excessive force either behind or ahead of your spine. All the weight of your head is centered over your spine where it should be.

One way to make that easier is to get something to sit on that does not have a back to it. A stool, kneeling chair or stability ball works great as it tends to build stronger muscles in the back and neck. For some reason, it is easier to have a more erect posture than when sitting in a traditional office chair.

However if you have to sit on a conventional chair, the backrest should have a curve that naturally conforms to your lower back. Ensure your back is contacting the backrest from your hips to your shoulders and sit with your feet flat on the floor.

If you have bad posture, you can improve it with these four exercises – the Prone Y,T,W L. The basic exercise is the same for all four moves; start by laying flat on the floor with your arms outstretched. Now lift your arms and shoulders slightly off of the floor.

What does change between each exercise is the position of your arms:

  1. Prone Y – lay with your arms outstretched in front of you forming the letter Y.
  2. Prone T – lay with your arms straight out from your sides at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions.
  3. Prone W – lay with your elbows tucked back so you’re your arms form the letter W.
  4. Prone L –  Similar to the Prone W, except your elbows are more forward, thus having your forearms and upper arms forming the letter L.

Do 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. This will strengthen your upper and lower back muscles so they can better support you when sitting.

Dr. Michael LeRoux  Ocean State Chiropractic | Ocala, Florida

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