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Working from home ruined your posture — here’s how to improve it

Working from home has its perks. For example, your desk can be anywhere, making it easy to tackle tasks from your porch or couch.

That said, even a regular desk can wreak havoc on your posture, so if you’re sitting on your bed, hunched over your laptop, you may be doing even more damage to your spine. Though it may feel comfortable and convenient now, poor posture can lead to a host of nagging health issues later, including shoulder pain, stiffness, and back pain.

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Luckily, you can fix these issues with a few simple tweaks, including posture exercises, to help you feel as good as new in no time. If you’re trying to fight the bad habit of poor posture, stick with us as we go through the best way to strengthen and align your spine while working from home.

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Why sitting at a desk (or hunched over) hurts posture

Sitting may feel more comfortable than standing, but sitting for long periods increases stress on your back, neck, and arms. Experts also say that slouching causes you to overextend your spinal ligaments, straining your spinal discs. Over time, this strain can cause chronic pain.

It makes sense. Think about it: If you constantly lift weights with poor form, your muscles and joints start to hurt. What’s more, when you don’t take days off to rest, you risk placing too much strain on your body. This same logic applies to more sedentary activities like sitting. When you have poor posture and don’t take enough breaks to move around and stretch, you’ll start to experience muscle strain and pain.

Posture exercises to try

Experts generally suggest moving around every hour. This action can include getting up to refill your water bottle, use the bathroom, or just mix up the way you move at your desk.

If you have a few minutes between tasks, try out these muscle exercises to strengthen your back and core to promote better posture and fend off muscle strain.

  • Planks. Having a strong core helps us stand up straighter. Put your arms on the ground with legs extended as if you are going to do a push-up. Your wrists should be aligned directed under your shoulders. Keep your back as flat as possible, as if you’re balancing a cup of water. Hold this position for one minute, remembering to breathe. Take a break. Repeat as many times as you’d like.
  • Neck Extensions. We place so much pressure on our necks when we look down at our phones and computers. To stretch the neck, gently move your head backward and look upward without arching your back. Hold for five seconds. Return to a neutral position and repeat.
  • Shoulder Rolls. This one is simple — simply roll your shoulders up to your ears and forward. Repeat about 10 times. Then roll them up to your ears and backward. You should feel all that shoulder tension melt away like butter on a hot summer day.
  • Supine Spinal Twists. Give your back some TLC with this restorative pose. Lie on the ground with legs extended. Bend your right knee and pull it into your chest. Cross this knee over to the left side of the body. Keep your right hip stacked on top of your left, and twist so your right arm is on your right side and your upper back is flat on the ground. Your arms should make a T-shape. Focus your gaze on your right fingertips. Switch sides and repeat.
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Other tweaks to make

Besides exercises, you can make a few other small changes to improve your posture just a little bit every day. The UK NHS suggests resting your feet on the floor or a footrest and not crossing your legs to keep your body aligned. Further, it’s best to keep your screen at eye level at all times — this includes when you are texting on your phone. Every time you tilt your neck downward, you add weight and pressure to it, causing strain, pain, and a new issue called “tech neck.” Keep your mouse close to you, too, so you don’t have to strain your upper body to reach it.

We often link sitting with comfort and relaxation. However, as with many aspects of life, there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. Sitting for prolonged periods without moving around is a surefire way to strain muscles and impede healthy blood circulation. Don’t worry, though; you don’t have to quit your desk job. Instead, make a few small tweaks to decrease the strain on your neck and spine, and be sure to move around for a few minutes every hour. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, speak with your doctor and consider seeing a chiropractor who can realign your spine.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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