Hey you, stop slouching.
We all know that good posture is important — our parents and teachers have been drilling this idea in our heads since we were children. But bad habits easily become our daily stance, and for those of us who are sitting at our desks for at least eight hours a day, it's not always convenient to find time to fix our form.
Dr. Adam Reynolds co-founder and chiropractor at Catalyst Health, says good posture starts with standing up.
"A few times an hour, make it a point to get up and move. Research shows that muscles begin to shorten up after they are in the same position for more than 20 minutes," he tells the Huffington Post Canada.
Standing up and stretching out your arms, he says, allows your chest and back to open up and prevents slumps or neck pains.
A March study revealed that people who sat for 11 hours or more during the day had an increased risk of death in the next three years over those who sat for less than four hours, according to Time Healthland. Poor back posture can also increase the risk of metabolic syndromes, heart attacks and strokes.
“Our results suggest the time people spend sitting at home, work and in traffic should be reduced by standing or walking more,” said study author Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg, a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health in Australia, said in a statement to Time.
Reynolds recommends adding short intervals of exercises during your lunch hour to stay in shape and avoid bad posture.
"With at least 20 minutes, you can make the most of of boosting your metabolism, burning fat for the rest of the afternoon and lifting your mood with a flood of endorphins. It also leaves you enough time to eat your lunch," he says.
Here are 6 ways to get good posture (and an overall workout) and 4 exercises you can try in your cubicle in 20 minutes:
Get A Ball:
Try replacing your office chair with a stability ball, says chiropractor Dr. Adam Reynolds. Forcing yourself to balance on a ball can increase core activation and improve your overall posture.
No gym close by? Don't worry. Reynolds suggests keeping a resistance band in your desk drawer and perform chest pulls while standing up. This will keep your blood pumping all day.
Keep A Band At Your Desk:
No gym close by? Don't worry. Reynolds suggests keeping a resistance band in your desk drawer and perform pulls while standing up to keep your blood pumping all day.
Competitive? Reynolds recommends wearing a pedometer and challenging yourself to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Not only will this straighten up your form, it will boost your metabolism and improve your mood.
Reynolds suggests drinking at least eight cups of water a day while sitting at your desk. (Just think of it has trying to finish one cup per hour). "Some researchers believe coffee dehydrates you, so for every cup of coffee offset it with at least one more cup of water," he says.
Try to avoid those company donuts -- at least for the majority of the week. Snacking on fruits, vegetables and other foods that are high in fibre and protein will keep your energy levels up during the day.
EXERCISE: Office Chair Squats:
Try doing squats directly into your office chair to work your core and posture. Try five sets at 30 seconds each.
EXERCISE: Wall Push Ups:
If you feel a little awkward breaking out into push ups on the company floor, find a flat wall and try five sets at 30 seconds each.
EXERCISE: Chair Tricep Dips:
Just like this photo, grab a hold of your chair's arms and dip down to the floor without having your bottom touch the floor. This exercise will workout your triceps and core. Try five sets at 30 seconds each.
EXERCISE: Office Planks
Yes, we know this may be seem embarrassing in front of a crowd, but finding an empty room or even the kitchen area of your office will work for planks. Again, planks can work your core and burn fat. Try five sets at 30 seconds each.