Many of us spend a large portion of our day sitting at a desk, usually for work. But, did you know that your posture can have negative effects on your health?
How can sitting be harmful?
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD’s) result from workplace risk factors. For people who spend a large amount of time working at a computer, these symptoms are common problems. WMSD’s arise from repetitive arm and hand movements such as bending, straightening, gripping, holding, twisting, clenching and reaching. These common movements are not particularly harmful in the ordinary activities of daily life. What makes them hazardous is their repetitive nature.
Improve your posture
This helpful infographic is a great guide to understand the correct sitting posture at your desk.
Sitting for long periods of time has also been shown to have negative effects on the body, so make sure to take breaks throughout the day. Walk over to a colleague’s desk instead of picking up the phone.
When you take a break, also think about stretching the muscles that might be strained at your desk, such as your neck. Here are some useful exercises to help avoid or reduce neck pain:
Sitting down, start with your head and neck in a relaxed/upright position. Slowly lower your chin to your chest. You may want to place your hands on the back of the head to apply a gentle stretch, which will be felt at the back of your neck. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
Shoulder Blade Pull
While sitting, bend raised arms at a 90 degree angle. Relax your shoulders and neck. Keeping your arms and neck still, squeeze the muscles between the shoulder blades, drawing them closer together. Return to neutral. Repeat this 5 times.
While sitting, bring your head into neck retraction position as shown, then gently turn your head diagonally to the right so your nose is positioned over your shoulder. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then return to neutral. Repeat 5 times in each direction.
Sit down with your head and neck in a neutral/upright position, then gently guide the ear toward the shoulder with your hand. Stop when you feel a stretch on opposite side of your neck. Hold for 10-15 seconds, then return to neutral. Repeat 5 times on each side.
Start in a seated position, and retract the neck. Slowly move your head up and backward as far as you can comfortably go. Return to neutral. Repeat 10 times.
Practicing these movements regularly will have long term benefits to avoid injuries, which sometimes occur while working for long periods of time with less movement.