top of page

Let’s get it right and sit up right! Good posture matters 💪

Updated: Jan 23, 2023


Let’s start the new year off right with sitting up right! “Sit up straight” is a phrase commonly used by many to tell us to maintain good posture. Posture is the position in which you hold our bodies while sitting and standing. SO, why focus on good posture for our Healthy U blog post? Well, the connection between good posture and optimal health is real. And let’s face it, it’s not that easy to ensure our posture is well maintained all day. We often find ourselves slouching (even slightly) after sitting or standing for extended periods of time. Not to mention, since the pandemic, many of us are now working from home, adding more desk time and potential improper sitting positions.

According to Harvard Health, poor posture can impact mood, and increase the likelihood of back pain, headaches and breathing problems. Furthermore, the American Chiropractic Association, reported that we depend on our posture to maintain balance and move in ways that have the least strain on muscles and ligaments.


POP QUIZ! Are you ready to complete our Healthy U Posture Quiz to determine if you would benefit from improving your sitting and standing posture?


1. Do you sit in the same position for extended periods of time (30+ minutes)?


Yes (1) / No (0)


2. When you are sitting, are your feet flat on the floor?


Yes (0) / No (1)


3. When you are sitting, is your head straight, upright, and not tilted?


Yes (0) / No (1)


4. When you are on the computer, is the top of your screen at eye level (maybe slightly below eye level)?


Yes (0) / No (1)


5. When you are standing, are your ears, shoulders, and hips are all in line with each other?


Yes (0) / No (1)

Let’s interpret your results. The greater the score, the greater the need to pay more attention to your posture. If you scored > 2 out of 5, you would benefit from making some changes to your sitting and / or standing posture. Read below to find out HOW to maintain an ideal posture throughout the day.

Before we get started, if I haven’t sold you already on paying more attention to your posture, here is a short list of the benefits related to good posture:

  • Increased confidence

  • Higher energy levels

  • Better mood and self-esteem

  • Easier to breathe

  • Less frequent headaches

  • Increase in productivity

  • Reduced risk of injury

Putting good posture into practice:


When you are sitting or standing, try following this checklist

  • Chin parallel to the floor

  • Shoulders even (roll your shoulders up, back, and down to help achieve this)

  • Neutral spine (no flexing or arching to overemphasize the curve in your lower back)

  • Arms at your sides with elbows straight and even

  • Abdominal muscles braced

  • Hips aligned

  • Knees pointing straight ahead

  • Body weight distributed evenly on both feet

Funny side note: my sister told me to imagine you are a puppet being held by a string, and you automatically adjust your position to optimize your posture. This envision works, I encourage you to give it a try!

HIGH ALERT: Sitting at a desk increases susceptibility of poor posture!

If you are sitting at a desk all day, setting up a proper workstation is key to maintaining the muscles in your back, arms, wrists, and shoulders. Ideally, your desk should be below the elbow level, so your forearms and wrists are parallel to the floor when doing your work. Your shoulders should be relaxed, and you should not be hunched over. Typing with poor posture can lead to increased risk of health problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendinitis. These painful conditions can be prevented through improved posture.

Exercises to help correct SITTING posture:


1. Chin tucks:

  • Sit upright and look straight ahead

  • Pull chin down toward the chest

  • Hold for 5 seconds, then release

  • Repeat 10 times, or as tolerated

NOTE: This exercise focuses on increasing neck strength, flexibility, and function.


2. Single leg extension:

  • Sit upright in a chair with your feet planted on the floor, hip-width apart

  • Lift one leg to a horizontal position

  • Return to the starting position

  • Do sets of 10 reps, or as tolerated

  • Repeat with the other leg

NOTE: This exercise will help train your core muscles to keep your pelvis stabilized.


3. Shoulder blade squeeze:

  • With your hands on desk, bring your shoulder blades back and up

  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you’re trying to squeeze a pencil in the middle of your back

  • Hold for 3 seconds, then release

  • Repeat 10 times, or as tolerated

NOTE: This exercise helps reduce pressure on the neck and shoulders.

Exercises to help correct STANDING posture:


1. Bear hug:

  • Wrap your arms around your body as if you are hugging yourself

  • Increase the stretch by holding onto your shoulders and pulling

NOTE: This stretch relieves tight shoulders and tension in the neck and back.


2. Calf raises:

  • Rest your hands against a wall or sturdy object.

  • Raise up on the balls of your feet so that your heels are off the ground.

  • Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position.

NOTE: This exercise strengthens the calf muscles, which will help to support your ankles and feet.


Good posture comes with time, practice, and awareness. Gravity is always working against you, and our goal is to spend more time in an optimal position. Even the perfect posture will be tiring over time so wriggle, shift, get up and walk around, stretch, and move every 30 minutes if you can! The BEST posture if often the NEXT posture!

Okay, so I will leave you with these quick takeaways:

  • Being mindful of your posture during the day, especially when sitting at your desk. Try setting alarms on your phone as an external reminder to check your posture.

  • Set yourself up with an ergonomically friendly workstation. Make sure your work set up supports posture changes to avoid one predominant position, like sitting.

  • Incorporate regular cardiovascular and resistance exercise to keep your muscles, joints, and bones strong.

  • Consider wearing a posture corrector, especially if you are unable to correct your posture on your own.

  • Get support / guidance from Physiotherapy / Massage Therapy to come up with a tailored plan that works for you.

Let’s all be proactive (versus reactive) and take care of our bodies with TLC – and give yourself a HUGE high-five for thinking about the relationship between your posture and health! Until next time ☺

 

Blog Collaborators: Elisa Porretta Dip HSc & BSc Candidate and Anjali Dayal BSc Candidate

Resources

American Chiropractor Association . ACA Today. (2021, November 18). Retrieved January 18, 2023, from https://www.acatoday.org/patients/posture/

Harvard Health Publishing. “Posture and back health.” March 9, 2014. https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/posture-and-back-health. Accessed: January 26, 2022

The benefits of good posture. Max Well Therapy, LLC. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2023, from https://www.maxwelltherapy.com/Newsletters/Full-Articles/The-benefits-of-good-posture/a~17683/article.html




bottom of page