We're pleased to welcome guest contributor and Doctor of Physical Therapy, JayDee Vykoukal, for this post on the importance of posture.
We all now know that as a culture, sitting all day at work is less than ideal. There is a well-
established body of research literature demonstrating that sitting is literally shortening both our quality AND quantity of life by increasing our chances of all kinds of health problems ranging from arthritis to heart disease.
The majority of people are willing to try increasing their standing time, but run into problems related to onset of new joint pain and fatigue causing us to come full circle to one of the biggest issues in any workplace:
The invention and promotion of the sit-to-stand desk in combination with educating employers and employees about the benefits of regular movement and standing at work has been a great first step toward improving workplace health. Prolonged sitting is bad for a variety of reasons, but standing comes with its own problems.
There are benefits to being in a more erect standing position throughout the day, yet what the body really needs is variety. When we find ourselves in any one position for too long our muscles becomes tired, blood flow and joint nutrition become stagnant and we end up assuming a leaning posture that puts our entire body out of balance.
As fatigue sets in, our body will find the most energy efficient way to posture itself, which may involve any of the following: perching awkwardly on a stool that gives no pelvis support whatsoever, leaning to one side on an elbow, forward leaning on both elbows, standing asymmetrically on one leg, or slumping (backward or forward) with the spine into a posture that strains our ligaments and joints.
All of these positions promote a prolonged imbalanced tension on our body’s innate structures and can lead to reinforcement of bad postural habits, poor movement coordination due to these imbalances, and, eventually, pain.
It’s clear our bodies are made to move while maintaining good posture. When stuck at a desk for the majority of the day at work, this can seem like a daunting task. This is where a device specifically designed to promote versatile, yet optimal positions, throughout the day is key.
This is why an adjustable standing chair like the LeanRite is a perfect complement to creating a healthy working lifestyle.
The benefits of such a seat are endless but the cornerstone of the LeanRite is that it provides the variation and adjustability our bodies need to thrive in any atmosphere, work related or not.
A typical spine makes a slight “S” shape that helps with shock absorption and core activation for daily activity. When we spend a lot of time out of this alignment it can lead a whole plethora of problems with the most common being shortening of the hip flexors increasing lumbar lordosis (extension) when standing, functional scoliosis, overstretching of our upper back and scapular muscles affecting the strength of our upper body, and tightening of the pecs leading to poor shoulder and neck posture.
With these imbalances, inadequate joint and muscle nutrition due to poor blood flow is inevitable and can lead to poor body awareness and synchronization, in addition to a cascade of general tightness, aches and pains anywhere in the body.
Maintaining good posture to avoid all these problems is about having adequate support to the curves of our spine to prevent excessive fatigue.
Because the spine is basically one big chain, focusing on balancing any one section will promote the others to fall into place. With LeanRite’s adjustment capabilities the pelvis and low back alignment can be easily adapted to fit each individual’s specific needs.
Whether standing fully erect, perching or sitting, the wide range of adjustments for pelvic and spine alignment makes the LeanRite a great option for everyone. Good posture should feel comfortable and easy in any position when the spine is optimally aligned!
Now that good posture is attainable, LeanRite will reinforce positive habits for a lifetime of health. As the body gets used to maintaining proper and comfortable posture with LeanRite, it will reinforce healthy muscle patterns and habits that will be gained as muscle memory. This muscle memory will include efficient core muscle activation. All of this good feedback will be strongly ingrained in your brain’s neural pathways making it easy to maintain it for the future.
The more often you maintain good posture throughout your day, the better you will feel and the easier it will be to continue. Plus, when the mind isn’t distracted with discomfort and fatigue we can focus on what on what’s important in our daily lives.
Less strain on the body inevitably leads to positive practices in other parts of life, reducing stress and increasing overall quality of life. And it all starts with good posture in any position!
The Effect of Different Standing and Sitting Postures on Trunk Muscle Activity in a Pain-free Population.
Sitting Time and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer.
Head Posture and Neck Pain of Chronic Nontraumatic Origin: A Comparison Between Patients and Pain-Free Persons.
Trunk Posture and Back Pain: Identification and Control of Occupational Risk Factors.
Evidence of health risks associated with prolonged standing at work and intervention effectiveness.