Modern day employment means that 86% of workers sit for their whole work day. This sedentary lifestyle has changed our bodies structure dramatically. Changes in movement patterns and secondary injuries have been created as a result of our bodies adaptation to the sitting position. Learning how to improve your office posture is critical for long-term health, energy and career longevity.
Why is sitting at a desk changing body?
The 4 most common problems I have seen in my experience are as follows.
- Leaning forward toward the desk or computer with bad posture can cause anterior displacement of the shoulder and kyphosis at the thoracic region of your vertebrae. In simpler terms, this means, your shoulders get stuck forward and your upper back begins to look like the hunchback of Notredame.
- Having your hips in a flexed position for long periods means that the hip flexors, particularly the psoa major, can become shortened. Once you stand your muscle remains shortened pulling your pelvis out of alignment, causing anterior pelvis tilt. This then causes it own range of problems and dramatically reduces the performance of your body.
- Squashing the glutes. Sitting on your butt all day causes the biggest and most powerful muscle in your body to switch off becoming less readily activated when needed. When the glutes are less active you have less control of the stability in your lower limbs and your hamstrings are at high risk of injury.
- Anterior neck displacement. Staring at a computer screen combined with staring at a phone all day has caused our heads to move forward, in-front of our natural and neutral head position.
How can I fix my desk body?
Thankfully we can work to restore our body to its natural structure.
Problem 1 – Here the front of the chest has been shortened and the muscles of the back have become weak and overstretched. As a result, we need to strengthen the back and stretch the chest. Please take a look at our improve your posture workout for easy to follow bodyweight exercises.
Problem 2 and 3 are combined – When a hip flexor is shortened and the glutes are not very active we put the hamstring at a high risk of injury. As a result, we need to re-activate the glutes, strengthen the hamstrings and stretch / lengthen the hip flexor.
I advise you to see a good physiotherapist who will help you reactivate your glutes and reduce the activation in your hamstrings. We also have a bodyweight glute workout which done readily can rapidly improve your glute activation and strength.
Problem 4 – Is fairly simple to fix as we need to strengthen the cervical extensors (muscles at the back of the neck) and stretch the cervical flexors (muscles at the front of the neck). Please take a look at our improve your posture workout for easy to follow bodyweight exercises.
The overall problem – To sit for long periods without the risk of changing your body’s structure we use a strong bracing pattern aimed to support your body the correct way.
Our article on how to improve your posture shows step by step actions in how to do this.