Picture this. . . sitting or standing with your shoulders hunched, head forward and down, arms bent and rigid, and your fingers or thumbs tapping away. Oh and sit that way for several minutes to hours. Just thinking about it makes my body hurt!
Poor posture is a culprit in headaches, neck/shoulder pain, overall stress, fatigue (your muscles have to work harder), and lower back pain. Not to mention pain in your thumbs, wrists, forearms, or elbows.
So what does good posture actually look like?
When standing, your ear, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle should align in one straight line with 3 gentle curves in your spine (small hollow at the base of your neck, small roundness at middle back, and small hollow in lower back). Your feet should be shoulder width apart, weight on the balls of your feet, tuck your tail bone under slightly, lift your chest, shoulders should be back and down, chin level, neck and jaw relaxed.
When sitting at a desk, rest your feet on the floor, hips and knees bent to 90 degrees (*do not cross your legs* it screws up your body’s alignment and causes stress on your muscles and joints), maintain the small hollow in your low back, lift your chest, keep your chin level (don’t let it fall towards your chest), avoid slouching or leaning too far forward.
For good computer posture, take the good posture for sitting at a desk from above and add having your computer screen at eye level, keep arms and wrists parallel to the floor, wrists resting comfortably on desk top/keyboard tray/edge of laptop.
Next on the list, good posture while using your iPad or tablet, “safe tableting”. First you must use the good standing or sitting posture listed above (make sure your body is well supported if your are sitting on a couch). Then you need to get the tablet out of your lap! Put it on a table, desk, pillow, lap tray, whatever you need as long as the tablet is higher. Once you have the tablet higher place it on an angle, ideally elevated to 45 degrees so that you can look straight at it instead of down at it (this goes for eBooks too). You will notice that most cases for tablets actually will support it at an angle, go figure. If you are going to be doing a lot of typing on your tablet, consider an add on keyboard.
Good Smartphone posture or “safe texting” is essentially the same as with a tablet, raise it out of your lap and up to a height that does not require you to look down! Texting while walking can be hazardous to your health, how many times has someone almost walked into you because they were so focused on looking down at their phone that they didn’t see you? If you need to, stop and stand in a good posture while you write your message then you can continue on and enjoy the world around you.
It is important to remember that bad posture is easy, you have been doing it for a Very long time. The first step to changing your posture is becoming aware of the bad habits and correcting them as you notice yourself slipping back. As your start to use good posture you will find that some of your muscles have become weak and will easily tire, while others are really tight and restricted, so make sure to take frequent breaks and stretch or simply walk around.
I had initially intended this to be a one post topic, but I ended up with so much good information that I decided to split it over 2 weeks. This week I challenge you to become more aware of your postures in different situation and try placing yourself in better postures. Next week we will look at which muscles you can stretch or strengthen to help make good posture easier.
So sit pretty, stand tall, and don’t fall victim to technology neck!
Author’s note . . . this entire blog post was researched, written while using good posture, lol ;)