Working at a desk can be terrible for our health. When we’re laser-focused on work, it’s easy to forget to be aware of our bodies, which makes it tempting to slouch, hunch, and shrink into ourselves all day long.
Dr. Todd Sinett, the NYC-based chiropractor and author of the book “3 Weeks to a Better Back,” has some professional tips to help us keep our spines healthy and happy during the workday. Last week, he helped us improve our sleep posture, and now he’s taking that advice out of the bedroom and into the office, sharing a few simple ways to ensure healthy desk posture.
Be mindful of how you sit.
“When sitting at a desk, a person should sit comfortably with full support against their chair. Their elbows should be positioned at a 90-degree angle, which will automatically align their shoulders better. Keeping knees at 90 degrees also helps reduce lower back strain caused by sitting, and feet ideally should be positioned flat on the floor. Wrists should be neutral and not in flexion or extension mode.”
If you have a standing desk, make sure it’s set up correctly.
“With a standing desk, remember the monitor and keyboard must be adjusted so that each are at the correct level. Again, you want to keep elbows at 90 degrees to ensure your shoulders are being kept back. If you have a tendency to look down at the keyboard, this will cause rounded shoulders, so it’s important to keep your head in neutral posture looking at the monitor. Wrists should also remain neutral and not in flexion or extension mode. You should keep both feet flat to distribute equal weight. However, this may be hard to maintain, so elevating one foot or the other alternately on a small platform (i.e., 2-4 inches, 1-2 books, block of wood) will ease lower back tension caused by standing.”
Regularly check in with your posture.
“One way to check your posture is through the core imbalance test (as seen in “3 Weeks to a Better Back”). This measures just how much your forward hunch and sitting is having an impact on your posture and health.” Dr. Sinett’s book also features special stretches to help with this process. “A product I designed called the BackBridge also helps realign your spine and subsequently fix your posture. The vast majority spends their days hunched forward and need to put extension back into their bodies—which is how the BackBridge helps.”
Avoid hunching over when texting.
“Another tip is to keep your head up! We spend too much time looking down at our tablets and smart phones. Every 10 degrees that your neck is bent forward increases the strain on your neck by 10 pounds. It’s important to make sure you’re texting the right way to combat this effect by holding the device out in front of you and at eye level.”