5 Ways to Improve Your Posture & Boost Productivity at Work - PIH Health

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Published on March 28, 2017

5 Ways to Improve Your Posture & Boost Productivity at Work

woman at desk with good posture

woman at desk with good postureIf you are one of the 86 percent of American full-time workers who spend the majority of their time sitting at a desk, posture is probably the last thing on your mind when trying to hurtle through your workload. However, if you’re trying to stay productive, bad posture can actually have a negative effect on your work performance due to several different factors. A study from San Francisco State University has shown that bad posture contributes to stress and depression. Other health problems can include fatigue, anxiety, irritability, digestive problems, muscle soreness, weight gain, headache, poor breathing, an increased risk of lifestyle disease and varicose veins. That’s a long list of problems.

Here’s how to improve your posture at work and boost your productivity:

  1. Create a comfortable work setting. This does not involve a luxury bean bag chair (even though that would be a nice way to work). Your monitor, keyboard and computer chair should align with your body so that it is comfortable enough to sit, type and view your monitor. Be mindful of your posture. Keep a straight back and use the base of your chair to support your lower back and avoid slouching. Your monitor should be at your eye level and an arm’s length away to avoid eye strain. It should also be directly across your keyboard so that your head and body are facing the same direction. Be sure to keep your mouse and keyboard together to avoid reaching over and keep your arms supported—chairs should have arm rests. Your feet should fall flat on the floor. Try to avoid crossing of the legs as this contributes to poor circulation and bad posture (you’ll start to feel numbness in the legs and it will hurt your back after a while, too).
  2. Give your eyes a break. Look away from the computer screen every 20 minutes to reduce eye fatigue. Focus your eyes on an object about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. This exercise is called the 20-20-20 rule.
  3. Stretch in between projects. It’s ok to get up and stretch. Often times it is easy to get glued to your desk. Break that habit and take a few minutes to stretch when you find yourself about to transition to another project. If you find yourself stuck on one long tedious project, set a timer to take a stretch break every 30-45 minutes or so. This will help you get your thoughts flowing and you’ll end up thanking yourself later.
  4. Get up and walk around. This can consist of a trip to the breakroom to fill up your water bottle (avoid those potluck treats/snacks that generous coworkers bring) or walking to and from the copy machine. “These little walks throughout the day will help keep your blood flowing,” says Christopher Bebek, PIH Health Occupational Health Nurse.
  5. Invest in desk exercise equipment. Get your “deskercise” on with some compact workout equipment such as dumbbells or a resistance band. There are several desk related workout tools you can find online. 

Sitting straight yet? We hope so. Give these tips a try and watch your posture, work performance and overall well-being improve.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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