Posture is a word we hear a lot, especially in the workspace where it is drummed into us that we should be sitting in a perfectly aligned, ergonomically sound position.
This is all well and good, and I am a big fan of good posture. Having good posture means you can move well, with ease, without resistance, tension or pain.
That being said, I am more of a fan of moving in line with YOUR bodies needs and limitations.
What is posture really?
Posture is not simply how you sit or stand. It is the pattern of movements and habits you make that prevent you from being in the ‘ideal’ position. Dynamic posture is how you move e.g. walk, run, jump and static posture is how you hold yourself when you are not moving e.g. sitting, standing, sleeping.
Looking at it from this perspective you can see that this encompasses such a wide range of movements. And we all move in different ways.
We are creatures of habit
It is great to have the guidelines of the ideal work-station positioning, and these go a long way into helping us set up our desks, and provide instruction on how we could be sitting that is the most beneficial to our bodies.
I have found however, through my work with corrective exercise and personal training that we are creatures of habit. Therefore, unless we are giving our full attention to our posture whilst sitting at our desk, we won’t be able to maintain this ‘perfect’ position for long.
The moment we move our awareness back to the task at hand it is likely that our shoulders will slump, or we will cross our feet, or shift to one side…or do any one of the many patterns of movement we are used to.
SO how can you make a change that actually works for YOU
Posture Hack #1 Awareness
Start to notice how your body moves and ask yourself these questions:
Which side do you talk on the phone
Which hand for texting
Which side do you carry your bag
Do you have a hobby that favours one side – tennis, playing an instrument
When you are standing do you shift your weight to one side
Do you lean on one side when sitting
Do you lean on one arm when sitting at your desk
Do you hunch your shoulders forward when looking at your screen
Do you cross your legs when you sit down
Do you lean forward towards your screen
Start to notice your patterns of behaviour and simply by doing this your brain will start to pay more attention. Place a post it on your screen that says ‘how are you sitting today?’ as a reminder.
Notice how when you take a second to check your posture you instinctively shift your body to sit taller or straighter, or more in line.
Your body knows how it should be moving and sometimes simply bringing awareness to it is all you need to make a subtle yet positive shift.
Educating yourself or your team on posture can seem prescriptive at times and you may wonder how effective it really is. I host virtual workshops on posture that aim to make it an interactive and personalised approach and offer simple ways to get real benefits. If you would like more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.