I don’t know about you but I think my posture has seriously deteriorated over the last year. Lockdown has had so many implications and I think this is one that hasn’t been recognised fully yet.
I already spent too much time sitting at a desk before lockdown but since then my work has moved entirely online. I’m still moving, still teaching, still dancing, but in between times I’m uploading videos, emailing and doing websites.
I’ve never spent so much time online or on my phone - that’s a whole other kettle of fish though!
It’s not as simple as phones / computer / Internet = bad. It’s the world we live in now and there are benefits and freedoms offered by this. Whereas years ago I would have had to design a poster (if you go back far enough I’d be doing this by hand), buy paper, ink, printer, print poster, and distribute poster - just to let people know what I was offering Booking was another ordeal - printing forms, filling in forms, filing forms - my participants sent me a cheque deposit to hold their space, which was then deposited and everything updated on my paper register.
That’s all been condensed and it’s all online - it takes a fraction of the time for my customers to sign up, pay and get in touch. It’s a hundred times easier for me to reach them - via social media channels and email - and to accept payment, bookings and stay on top of my registers.
But the downside is longer hours in front of a computer, or in front of a phone, being reachable 24 / 7, that feeling of being attached to your phone. The work / life balance is more blurred than ever (another big topic), and we are (often) more sedentary than ever.
Let’s do a wee test…. Are you reading this on a phone right now or a computer?
Is your screen at eye level? Or more likely, phone below eye level and head forward and down. The neck is designed to support the weight of the head but when the head moves forward it increases the weight and puts huge amounts of strain on the neck leading to tightness and pain in the upper back, neck and head areas.
This doesn’t only happen when you’re looking at a phone - it’s true of computers too, especially if your screen and keyboard are too low. And that’s just your neck and head - there are a whole host of postural issues when we take into account the spine, pelvis and hips. I’m sure we don’t all have optimal working conditions at home and ergonomic office furniture.
All of this is ok if we’re doing 10 minutes at a computer, or an occasional glance at a phone, but many of us are doing longer hours than ever - sitting in the one position, and one that is sub optimal at that. It’s not just working either - as we are unable to see our friends and family in the flesh we are spending more time connecting through social media - again it’s a saviour and a blessing to be able to easily share photos, to chat via FaceTime - it helps us feel connected. But
Posture matters for so many reasons. Not everyone will have the same poor postural habits and not everyone will have the same outcomes. Not all of us will experience posture related pain such as tension headaches, neck and shoulder pain, imbalances, low back pain, stiffness in hips and shoulders - but many of us will. There are other less obvious impacts too - from our breathing to our confidence levels - all affected by how we move, stand and sit.
So what are we going to do about it!
Well the first thing is, to be aware! When you start noticing how you are standing and sitting at any given point, you can often make small changes without too much effort. The more times we notice we are slouching in our seats / drooping head forward / crossing legs, the more times we correct that posture - even if it’s just for a few minutes. And our body and mind start learning new ways.
Another key thing is to keep moving. We weren’t design to be sedentary - we were designed to move in a myriad of different ways. So if you’re sitting still , get up and move - even if it’s just walking around your house or taking 2 mins to stretch. Set alarms to remind yourself. Stretch. Don’t worry too much about what you do - they key is just moving.
I would love to share more of these easy to implement tips, and more information about how to improve your posture. If you’re interested in exploring more about this I’ll be using my experience as a Pilates and yoga teacher, and as a human being working and living in this online world, and helping to empower you to make changes around your posture.
I’m running an absolutely free course starting on Monday 15th February . It’s minimum commitment - the course itself will take less than 5 mins a day. However the effort you put in in raising your awareness and making small changes is where the change will lie.
If you’re interested in giving this a go sign up here and you’ll receive the info straight to your inbox, starting Monday.