We all sit hours upon hours each day. There’s no getting around it even with a standing desk, a fancy treadmill desk, or taking frequent breaks. Sitting with good posture feels confusing since we’ve been told to “sit up straight” with “shoulders down and back.” This feels exhausting! Instead I recommend finding your center in “optimal posture” to minimize pain in your day. But how do I do that you ask?!?! Don’t worry, I’ll tell you step by step how to set up your day for ergonomic success. I don’t know about you but some days just feel like this:
As women with Hashimoto’s who already struggle with chronic pain including joint pain and muscle aches, its essential to have a good ergonomic set up to minimize any postural overload.
With joint hyper-mobility, most women will slouch and lean forward to get comfortable instead of using their core to hold themselves upright.
While sitting we slump forward, round the low back, jut our chin forward and everything collapses. This poor posture compresses the belly not allowing for a 360 diaphragmatic breath, poor core stability, and can lead to headaches and neck pain.
Feel like you have a sleep tush that doesn’t fire? All sitting leads to glute amnesia or sleepy glute muscles. We put the glute muscle on a stretch then we sit on it for hours a day telling the brain to turn the muscle off.
Here are my 3 tips to combat painful poor posture:
1. Do a self ergonomic assessment and set your desk up for success.
In the picture at the top, most of us start our day off like the woman on the right and by the end of our day feel like the woman on the left. Let’s start and finish our day with some good posture success.
To set your desk up for optimal posture follow this check list:
-Feet grounded on the floor
-Knees separated so there’s a 90 degree angle between the legs for a stable base of support
-Ribs stacked over pelvis for minimal compression on the low back
-Ears over shoulders over hips
-Elbows resting down by your sides and close to your ribs
-A 90 degree angle bend in the elbows
– Eyes hit the top third of your screen as if your eyes were looking on the horizon
2. Stretch every hour on the hour
For a couple minutes throughout your day, get the body moving and grooving at work to keep the blood flowing. Not a deep stretch because we want to avoid overstretching and unnecessary hyper mobility but just enough to relax the tight muscles.
Here’s some of my top stretches that can be done at a desk:
3. Strengthen the weak muscles
We want to make sure we correct the muscle compensations that happen when we sit aka unstable shoulders, weak core, and glute amnesia.
Here are some of my faves for shoulder and core stability.
And then deadlifts to get the glutes turned on and full body integration where all the “turned off” muscles from sitting too much are talking to one another.
Found this helpful? What are you gonna try first? Doesn’t matter where you start just start!
Want a solid guide on how to feel strong in your body despite all the sitting? Get my free downloadable PDF here.
In Good Health,
Dr Emily Kiberd