A good part of your day is probably spent sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen. Unfortunately, spending too many hours at your desk can lead to upper and lower back problems, as well as shoulder and neck problems due to fatigue. The good news is that you can be proactive in keeping your back, neck, and shoulders healthy by avoiding bad habits and doing a few exercises to help you maintain better posture at work.
Keeping Your Back Healthy: What to Avoid
If you spend long hours at a desk job, here’s what you should avoid doing:
- Sitting too long without getting up. Every so often, get up and stretch to loosen up your back muscles, and walk around a bit to improve your circulation.
- Sitting in an uncomfortable position. If you’re sitting at an awkward angle, rearrange your chair and desk so that your back, shoulders, and neck are completely relaxed while you work. Make sure that your computer screen is at eye level, and that your arms and wrists are supported comfortably. Also, consider getting a lumbar pillow for extra lower back support.
- Outdated office chairs. A specially-designed ergonomic office chair will do wonders for your desk posture.
- Slouching. This puts unnecessary pressure on your back and can lead to stress injury. Sit up straight, and pull your shoulder blades back in a comfortable, yet supportive, position.
Exercises for Better Desk Posture
- Lift your arms straight over your head and lace your fingers together, then bend slowly to the right, then to the left.
- Slightly lift and stretch each leg one at a time, keeping your toes pointed.
- Put both hands on your desk, move your feet to a 45-degree angle, and do 12 push ups.
- Invest in an exercise ball. Alternate from sitting in your chair to sitting on the exercise ball throughout the day. The ball will force you to sit up straight, and will provide better muscle support.
- Do chair tricep dips. Grab the chair arms and dip slowly down until you reach the floor without touching it. Five dips held at 30 seconds each are excellent for improving your posture.
- Also, check out this video for some great desk yoga exercises, which can relax your muscles and keep your heart healthy.
Avoiding Bad Habits
Here’s how to avoid falling back into bad desk posture habits:
- Post reminders on your desk to help you remember to sit up straight, stand up, and stretch.
- Use a timer to remind you to get up, stretch, and exercise.
By using these simple desk exercises and teaching yourself to avoid bad habits, you can maintain better desk posture for a stronger, healthier back throughout your work day.