I love writing. It’s fun. It’s cathartic. And it’s turning me into a hunchback! Sitting at my desk (more recently on my bed because my landlord gave me a desk only suitable for a six year old) for long periods every day is really taking its toll on my posture.
And that can lead to some serious trouble. A bad posture is not just ugly to behold. It’s also uncomfortable, and hard on the body, resulting in all kinds of health problems. It makes your joints ache, messes up your breathing, forces your heart to work harder, and even causes you to fall more easily.
That’s why this year I decided to finally listen to my mom, who’s always screaming at me to sit upright and stop crossing my legs, and take my posture seriously. Here’s what I’m doing to improve it:
1. Don’t slouch!
For me, this is the most difficult tip to follow. I love to slouch, and, after years of working at my desk, it’s sadly become natural. And that’s bad, because in the long term, slouching weakens the muscles in our chest and upper back. So, when you find yourself slouching, correct your posture and sit upright. I hear this is a lot easier to do if you have an ergonomic chair and a desk that’s not too low. As soon as I find a more permanent place to live (l moved three times last year, and looks like I’ll have to do it again in a few months *sighs*), I’ll be investing in them too.
2. Do The Shoulder Rolls
When you spend lots of time sitting down writing, like I do, you start to assume a hunched position. That’s the worst. This bad posture makes our heart work harder, and difficult for us to breathe deeply. But, there’s a pretty fun solution: shoulder rolls! You already know how to do them, but I’ll say it anyway: roll your shoulders down and back, and then pull your elbows back towards your back. This relaxes tightened muscles, helping your shoulders maintain their natural alignment.
3. Don’t cross your legs
As soon as I sit down, I cross my legs at the knees. It’s so comfortable (and sexy!). But, it’s also bad for my body. It puts a lot of stress on hip joints , and causes pooling of the blood in the legs, which can lead to inflammation. Crossing your legs at the ankle is bad too. The only correct way to sit is also the most annoying : feet firmly planted on the ground. But, every now and then, move them. It improves blood circulation.
4. Move around a lot
When I start to write, I can get lost in a world of my own for hours. As fun as that is, that’ bad for my posture too. Every few hours, I have to remind myself to take small breaks and go for a walk, or do some stretching at home. I hate stretching, but it must be done. It prevents your hip flexor muscles from becoming too thin. When that happens, your body tilts forward, which is both unsightly and painful.
5. Adjust your office
You may not be able to change your office, but you can make it more comfortable. Apart from a high desk and ergonomic chair (which has to be high, so the pressure is put on the chair and not your lower back), make sure your computer is level with your eyes. A lumbar pillow is another good investment. It properly supports your spine so it’s easier to keep it straight. If you’re a masochist, you can also invest in a standing chair. That way, you won’t be doing much slouching for sure.
Do you need to improve your posture too? If so, what are you doing about it?