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Study and/or work habits, and even digital leisure activities, are seriously affecting the health of more and more people. The number of hours that both workers and students spend sitting in front of a desk is generally excessive, and this time is further increased by digital entertainment, internet browsing, or consuming movies, games, and social media activity. Back pain, arm pain, shoulder pain… are common in a significant portion of the population for this reason, something that could be prevented with proper postural hygiene.
Telecommuting has changed the habits of employees, resulting in cost savings and improved quality of life in many aspects. However, it also involves spending more hours sitting in front of a computer, in a more disorderly and relaxed manner than in a traditional office environment, for example. This relaxed attitude while working from home often leads to sitting in any way, without paying attention to health-related considerations in this regard.
What is postural hygiene?
The way in which one positions their body to protect the spine and reduce or completely avoid overloading it is what is considered postural hygiene. To carry this out as correctly as possible, some recommendations and postural attitudes should be followed, which need to become completely automatic over time.
And while there are valuable tools and aids to help develop good habits, such as a posture corrector, it is preferable to avoid normalizing postures that harm the spine over time, as they may become natural.
In this regard, it is important to know what the correct positions that postural hygiene teaches are.
What is a correct postural hygiene and how to maintain it?
As a general rule, to prevent the body from overloading the spine or disrupting the balance of the body’s weight while working in a seated position, the feet should be placed flat on the floor with the knees forming a 90-degree angle.
Furthermore, the spine should always remain upright and receive proper support from the backrest. Regarding the hands and arms, it is also important for them to be aligned with the forearms and at the same angle: 90 degrees.
Don’t forget the position of the head, although this will depend on the monitor’s location. In this regard, one should find a way for the monitor to be at eye level and maintain space between the cervical vertebrae.
Tips for maintaining good posture
In addition to positioning yourself at the desk as mentioned above, it is also advisable to change your posture frequently. This is necessary when spending many hours working in the same position. You should take breaks, stand up from your chair every 30 or 40 minutes, stretch your arms and legs, and walk for a couple of minutes around the area.
Choosing good furniture with ergonomic chairs and height-adjustable desks and wearing comfortable clothing and shoes can also be very useful. Finally, during leisure time, engage in physical activities aimed at improving health for those who spend too much time sitting. Good examples of these are Pilates or Yoga, as they involve exercises related to posture.
Consequences of not maintaining good posture
Among the consequences of not paying due attention to this issue, some physical consequences include muscle contractions, which will gradually develop and will be more challenging to address once they appear.
Likewise, headaches may occur from straining the neck for extended periods, and digestive problems can arise if a hunched posture becomes habitual, shortening the digestive tract and causing acidity. Similarly, respiratory insufficiencies can occur by limiting the space the diaphragm needs for proper function.
Benefits of postural hygiene
In addition to avoiding the aforementioned problems, adopting the best possible habits when working, studying, or playing in front of a computer will optimize both muscular and mental work, enhancing concentration and thus increasing productivity. You will also improve muscle mobility, strengthen both internal and external musculature, alleviate tension, prevent possible contractions, and, most importantly, eliminate the possibility of experiencing dreaded back pain.