Straight Up: Get Your Posture Back on Track

| Well Being

slouched at desk

A healthy dose of good posture goes a long way. We sit for an average of eight hours per day, and oftentimes we are slumped over a computer, hunched over a desk and sitting sedentary without even thinking about it. The obvious answer would be to simply stand up and walk around, but studies now show that poor posture, even when walking, damages your body in terms of your breathing, hormones and energy levels. So, mamas, it's time to get in line, because saggy shoulders and a slouchy stance can seriously impact your mood, confidence and your muscles all over! Although binge watching House of Cards on your laptop for hours on end is so tempting, your body will thank you in terms of increased energy and concentration when your posture is back on track.

So, we need to straighten up. Maybe we need to rethink our desk chair? Slouchy lounging doesn't always equal relaxation; in fact, your body releases the hormone cortisol that causes stress when you're hunkered down. Along the same lines, you're more likely to feel bummed out when you sit like a wilting flower. If you hunch over, your breathing is limited, and a lack of oxygen can cloud your focus. Naturally, your spine will be somewhat out of alignment, making other muscles overcompensate. This can lead to pain everywhere! Last but not least, consider a taller posture next time your libido is nowhere to be seen; a weak core, brought on by poor posture, is linked to weak arousal. So let's strike a pose whenever we're sitting for extended periods of time!

posture

Shoulders: Roll your shoulders up, back and around every hour or so. Simply pushing them back won't do the trick anymore; motion is key in keeping your back in alignment.

Chin: This is especially important when you find yourself staring at a computer screen for hours on end. Keeping your chin slightly pointed down, around a 35-degree angle, will stretch the spine and spread out the weight of your 10-pound head to lessen strain on your neck.

>> Check out these desk stretches for the office mama!

Neck: Sit at an arm's length away from your computer screen and adjust the screen so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position. To take pressure off your spine after sitting for a while, push your chin straight back and gently lift the top of your head.

Arms: Form a 90-degree angle with those bronze babies. Your forearms should be parallel to the floor and your elbows should be a few inches from your sides.

Back: Push your hips as far back into the chair as they will go. Your back and legs should make an angle of around 100 degrees. Make sure both your lower and upper back are supported; use small pillows if necessary.

Hips: Tilt your pelvis slightly forward to put pressure on your buns (not your back), neck and shoulders.

Feet: With knees hip-width apart, plant your feet flat on the floor. You may need to adjust your chair height to do this. Then, move each heel inwards about an inch, which will create a V shape in your hips that will help relieve leg tension.

If you find yourself standing for extended periods of time, most of the above advice can be taken. Spread your weight equally between both feet and keep a slight bend in your knees, because hyperextending them will cause your back to arch. Also, keep your chin slightly pointed down to make your neck long.

After a long day, you may need to do some exercises that also help strengthen your posture. It's important that you don't find yourself in a slump, because a slump kills your shoulders and back. The damage wrought by poor posture goes beyond an aching lower back, so sit confidently and relax into an aligned back!