In this age of standing desks it’s time to face-up to a truth. Chairs are not the enemy. It’s OK to sit down! Chairs have been a part of human civilization for at least 5,000 years and humans continue to survive. Sitting isn’t necessarily evil, and the dude waving to you from his standing desk isn’t morally superior to you. What is troublesome, though, is poor posture and sedentary habits that can develop when sitting is a default position. Getting lazy in a chair can negatively affect joint alignment, muscular strength and your cardiovascular system.
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But, there is a simple solution that doesn’t involve over-the-top crazy techniques that disrupt the workplace. Short posture breaks that incorporate non-obtrusive exercises can help you improve your posture. A focus on restoring alignment throughout your day can not only help you feel physically stronger, it can open up your chest so your lungs and respiratory system can function well. Better breathing means more oxygenated blood gets to your brain and to the rest of your body to help you feel more energized from head-to-toe.
6 Posture Improving Exercises You Can Do at Work
1) Shoulder Shrugs and Rolls
One of the most simple, yet effective things you can do to reset your posture are tried-and-true shoulder rolls and shrugs. Shrug by drawing your shoulders up to your ears several times. Then, since much of your day is oriented around leaning forward and looking down, focus on backward shoulder rolls.
2) Goal Post Pull-downs
Extend both arms out to your sides. Keep them at shoulder height and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle so you look like a football goal post. Pull your shoulder blades down and together. Your elbows will drop a little as you tighten your upper back. Pause in the contraction before you release and repeat.
3) V-Arm Pull-downs
From the Goal Post position, straighten your arms so they are in a “V.” Pull your shoulder blades together like you did in the Goal Post. The lengthened arm position will move the contraction a little further up your back, closer to the base of your neck.
4) Neck Stretch Series
Place your hands by your sides. Tilt your head to the right while you push through your left hand. Tilt your head left while you push your right hand down. Turn your head right and let your chin drop down to your shoulder, then turn your head left and drop your chin to your shoulder. Come back to center and drop your chin to your chest. Finish by tilting your head back and look at the ceiling while relaxing your jaw.
5) GET UP! Walk or take standing breaks.
Your body needs the movement… in fact, it craves it! So give it what it’s asking for. Try to stand up and move once every 30 minutes (even if its just to grab a drink of water).
6) Posture Reset
Place your fingertips on your chin. Retract your head by pulling the back of your head towards the wall behind you, like you are making a double-chin. Your chin should be several inches away from your fingertips when you retract your head. Then, relax to a natural position (which is, hopefully, a fair distance from your fingertips).