While we mostly focus on the content of our work (the emails, projects, and decisions), how we work greatly affects our health and sanity.
Are we slumped and tight? Is our body happy? Physical struggle often leads to pain and that can interfere with focus and productivity. Here are three changes you can make that will greatly affect your posture and health at work.
1. Raise Your Rump
Sitting with our legs and torso at 90° is normal nowadays, but physiologically unnatural. The reason that chairs use this 90° angle has everything to do with ease of stacking and cost of production, and very little to do with promoting healthy posture.
Instead of sitting, think perching. Get your hips higher than your knees (the angle between your torso and legs should be around 110-135°). This is easily done for around 50 dollars on Amazon with a buckwheat or firm cushion that you can drop right onto your seat. You don’t necessarily need to buy a new, expensive chair. The cushion solution is portable. I dream of the day when people in an office walk into the conference room with their favorite cushion in tow.
Here are three cushions I recommend:
If you’re around 6 ft. or taller, you may want to try the Smile Cushion by Carolina Morning (choose the buckwheat version).
A somewhat more compact cushion, also made with buckwheat, is the Buckwheat Crescent cushion made by Samadhi Cushions.
A cushion that’s designed just for chairs (unlike the two meditation cushions above) is the Everlasting Comfort wedge-shaped cushion recommended by BCL’s very own Neil Carlson!
2. Use Your Skeleton
Too often, people misunderstand posture as being the result of constant exertion. Ask the next two-year-old you see with perfect posture how hard they are trying to sit up.
Learning a few basic points about anatomy can help you rethink your posture and let your skeleton do the work. I’ve provided a short video below, and a four-point posture checklist.
3. You Need a Break
You need several breaks, actually. Getting up every 20 to 25 minutes for just a few minutes (i.e. walking to the water cooler and back) can help prevent repetitive strain injuries and also boost productivity and focus. A very easy, low-tech system is the Pomodoro Technique. This simple time management system also helps keep your body and mind stay fresh.
Pro tip: Drink lots of water. You’ll flush out the muscle waste and have to get up frequently!
If you have any questions about office ergonomics, feel free to reach out to Dan directly: Dan@fluidmovementnyc.com.
This guest post was written by Dan Cayer of Fluid Movement. Dan teaches an innovative approach to dealing with pain and stress drawing on his training as an Alexander Technique teacher and his experience coming back from a life-changing injury. He also provides hands-on instruction and support for adults who wish to learn how to swim without fear or pain.