In an effort to encourage moving more throughout the day, many companies and individuals are moving to standing desks or adjustable sit-stand desks However, be aware that moving from seated to standing while maintaining improper posture is simply allowing the problem to continue in a different position.
Standing is often seen as the fix. However, if we stand still with the hips anteriorly tilted we find similar biomechanical problems as compared to when seated. This negates the positive effect of standing as compared to sitting.
Instead, we should view standing as an opportunity for movement and small, continuous shifts in posture. These shifts allow us to avoid long periods of time where we would otherwise be seated, or un-moving. Perhaps adding a foot pedal or something to set our foot on under the desk, allows us the ability to move more, change position, and to ensure proper posture.
So, what is proper posture? Let’s break it down to three major cues, from head to toe:
Forehead should be behind the chin, ears in line with the shoulders.
Shoulders should be slightly pinched back.
Hips should be neutral. (Think about tucking your tail, like a dog!)
When we’re standing, or walking, we should be mindful of our posture and how we’re carrying ourselves. Although slight discrepancies may exist between individuals, we can work to change or decrease them over time.
How can we work to adjust our posture misalignments? One simple way is to begin focusing on breathing correctly. Each breath should be drawn in using the diaphragm, thinking about filling the lower abdomen with air. An exercise for this would be diaphragmatic or crocodile breathing.
Once we nail breathing and our posture while moving throughout the day, we can practice maintaining proper posture while varying our position, during different exercises, and in response to external resistance.