Could Poor Posture at Work Negatively Affect Your Health?
Have you ever given any thought as to how long you sit in a chair at work on a daily basis? If you’re like the majority of Americans, you spend upwards of 5-6 hours per day in your cubicle or office. Barring small water breaks and trips to the snack room, your body is not getting the exercise and movement it needs to stay healthy.
San Francisco State University conducted a study in which half of the participating students were asked to walk down the hallways in a slouched position, heads and shoulders hung low. The other half were asked to skip down the hallways. Not surprisingly, those who slouched reported increased feelings of depression, decreased energy levels and an overall malaise. Those who skipped reported feeling happy and energetic.
The chiropractic community has long been aware of the negative health effects that arise from poor posture. They see millions of Americans on a yearly basis and one of the biggest causes of the reported health problems is sitting in a chair for extended periods of time. Office workers are the ones who tend to suffer the greatest physical and psychological harm.
Here are 4 reasons why having poor posture at work can harm your health:1
1. Causes Digestive Issues
When your body is in the sitting position in a chair, it constricts your heart, lungs and intestines. This in turn causes digestion to be very uncomfortable and over time can lead to a wide range of medical conditions.
2. Poor Breathing Habits
Have you ever stood up while talking on the telephone? You may have noticed it was a lot easier to talk while you were standing vs. when you were sitting. This is because poor posture (when sitting in a chair) will restrict blood and oxygen flow to your lungs and brain, which in turn makes it somewhat difficult to breathe and speak.3
3. Neck, Shoulder, and Back Pain
Upper body and back pain is the #1 reason why office workers seek out the healing hands of a chiropractor. Sitting in a chair for an extended period of time puts stress on your body, especially if you’re not sitting in one of those expensive office chairs with ergonomic support.
Have you ever noticed what you thought was a “slight migraine” while sitting at your office desk? Chances are it was caused by….you guessed it – poor posture. When you sit, tension builds up in your shoulders, neck, and spine. Some days that tension will work its way up to your head and cause a tension headache.
How to Avoid Bad Posture At Work?
Ask your boss to invest in an ergonomic chair. Tell him/her that there are many medical studies that have proven poor posture at work can lead to a whole host of health issues. You should also get up from your desk and stretch every 30 minutes. Even if it means taking a walk to the water cooler or to the furthest point in your office, you should do so. You could even take a 15-20 minute walk outside at lunch time.
The best way to reduce the amount of stress your body undergoes while sitting in a desk is to exercise regularly outside of work. Yoga, Pilates or even a brisk walk around the block after dinner can significantly help improve your health and counter-act the negative effects of poor posture at work.