If you have good posture (the word is from the Latin, ponere), it simply means that your spine is healthy or neutral, and that the three natural curves of the spine are present. Human posture refers to the carriage of the body as a whole, especially regarding the proper positioning of the limbs. These days, many jobs require us to sit at our desks for long periods of time, so maintaining good posture while at work is of extreme importance. This is because poor posture, over the long-term, can lead to chronic back or neck pain, musculoskeletal disorders, and even a decrease in a your productivity.
Desk Work and Back Pain
The only way to prevent chronic back issues—or any other issues related to improper posture—is to implement ergonomic principles at the workplace.
Though you may think that offices are one of the safest work environments, there are health risks that may surprise you. According to a 2015 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 31 percent of workplace injuries are associated with improper posture. We’re also becoming more aware of “sitting disease.” Despite the name, it’s not a specific disease but a newly coined term that describes back problems and musculoskeletal disorders that can develop from sitting for long periods of time.
If you work at a desk, it’s essential to take breaks, get adequate movement, and make sure your spine remains in alignment. If you don’t regularly walk around, stretch, or do some type of upper back strengthening exercises throughout the day, your long-term health may pay the price.
There are various reasons why office workers are at risk of developing musculoskeletal issues. If you slouch, for example, your spine can become misaligned. If your workstation isn’t set up correctly, you may have to stretch your neck to see your monitor, causing neck strain. If you have a habit of working with your legs crossed, over an extended period this can lead to hip misalignment. And if you don’t move much from your office chair, the restriction of blood flow to the spinal disc and cause severe wear and tear over the long-term.
Increase Productivity by Sitting Properly and Moving Often
Sitting correctly and maintaining comfort in the spine can lead to a vast improvement in productivity. Research suggests that if you work at a desk all day, you should angle your chair between 110–130 degrees from your desk to increase productivity and reduce back strain. Maintaining a neutral pelvic position can increase your productivity because you’re no longer focusing on back discomfort but strictly focusing on work instead.
Another key to increase productivity is too get up and move around. Incorporate some type of physical activity throughout the day into your office routine. Research shows that being active can increase productivity just as much as sitting in the proper position. And the activity can be as simple getting up and going to the breakroom or walking around the office and taking a quick stretch. The key is to stand up and walk around at least twice every hour.