Sitting has become an unfortunately large part of everyday life. From school to work and even leisure activities, we are often “taking a seat”. As we sit for longer periods of time, we fall into predictable patterns of muscular tightness, muscular lengthening, and even postural deformities. These patterns lead to dysfunctional movement, pain and discomfort, nerve compression, headaches and eventually chronic health conditions.
What Does Proper Posture Look Like?
First, let’s talk about how to sit properly:
- Adjust your seat height so your feet can be flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to the ground.
- Now scoot your butt all the way back into the chair while leaning forward slightly. As you sit up it should feel like the chair is compressing your butt.
- Rock your hips forward and back and settle into a “neutral” posture. This would be about halfway between hips & low back pressed all the way into the chair and fully arched away from the chair. Depending on your chair style, you may slide forward in the chair for this.
- Roll the shoulders back and down while compressing the shoulder blades together. You should feel a slight squeeze between the shoulder blades.
- Pull the chin back over the ears with your focus about 20 degrees above parallel to the ground and straight ahead.
- If using a keyboard, it should be placed so the upper arm hangs directly down, and the keyboard is just below parallel for the lower arm angle. This usually requires a keyboard tray.
Resility Health Solution
With advances in technology, it is now possible to use biofeedback as a way to keep yourself in proper posture. Resility Health has developed a non-invasive, surface electromyography system (way to measure muscle activity) that you can easily use to keep you in proper posture. Most people who sit for a living will develop tightness in their upper trapezius muscles (the big muscle running from your neck to your shoulder that raises the shoulders). This example is specifically for avoiding overactive upper trapezius muscles.
To Use the Device:
- Turn on your device with the electrodes snapped in place and peel off the tack paper.
- Simply place a sensor on your upper trapezius muscle oriented from neck to shoulder.
- Go into your Resility Health app and select your device.
- Set your muscle tension level.
- Sit and enjoy!
- As your shoulders begin to creep up an alarm will sound alerting you to push them back down.
- At the end of the day, you can review your muscle tension data.
Simple exercises can be done to combat a poor sitting posture. These exercises will help to lengthen the muscles that become short and tight, strengthen the muscles that become long and loose and encourage a proper posture all around. It is crucial that during these exercises you are using only the muscles that will help keep you in proper posture, not those that want to take over and pull you into poor, painful postures. To ensure this EMG can be used in conjunction with the exercises.
Just as you would do while sitting at work, place the Resility Health sEMG on your dominate side upper trapezius muscle. This muscle will be trying to get involved in each of the below exercises. Set the monitor so it will alert you with about 50% activation of the upper trapezius muscle. This will ensure you are reinforcing good habits while doing the postural exercises.
Arm, Chest & Shoulder Stretch
- Place your right hand as flat as possible on a wall with your arm fully extended and fingertips parallel to the ground.
- Turn your feet as far to the left as possible without moving your right hand.
- When feet can’t go any further, rotate your hips left as far as possible.
- Next, rotate your shoulders as far left as possible.
- Finally, rotate your head as far left as possible.
- You should feel a large stretch from your right all the way to the shoulder and into the chest on the right side.
- Hold the Stretch 10-20 seconds. Relax for 30 seconds and repeat once more.
- A slight modification would be to rotate your fingertips down toward the ground in step one. This can help target slightly different areas.
Repositioning of the Head
- With the Resility Health sEMG in place, take a towel or exercise band and place it behind your head.
- Fully extend your arms at forehead level, shoulder width apart.
- Hold tension on the towel/band as you pull your chin straight back as though it were resting on a table. Pause for a moment.
- Now bring the chin forward on the same imaginary table.
- Repeat 10-12 times for 2 sets.
- With the Resility Health sEMG in place, use an exercise band, loop it around something stable at head height.
- Grasp the band with palms down and thumbs facing you.
- Starting with arms straight and light tension, pull the band towards your face with elbows wide and parallel to the ground.
- When the elbows can’t come back any further rotate the hands back towards the ears.
- Slowly return to start and repeat 10-12 times for 2 sets.
Foam Roller Thoracic Extension
- Take a 36” foam roller and lay on it directly on your spine top to bottom, assure your head is fully supported by the roller.
- Pull the low back into the foam roller and suck your chin back in an attempt to have your entire spine touching the foam roller.
- Hold that position while bringing the arms up and out to the side at a 45-degree angle. Think about your thumbs trying to touch the ground at head level as far to the side as possible.
- Hold this position for 30-60 seconds, repeat 4-5 times per day.
With advances in technology, it is now possible to use biofeedback as a way to keep yourself in proper posture. Resility Health has developed a non-invasive, surface electromyography system (way to measure muscle activity) that you can easily use to keep you in proper posture. Using these simple solutions will help you avoid headaches and other unpleasant side effects of improper posture.
About the Author
Dr. David Hopper is a practicing chiropractor, former professional athlete, health & fitness expert and most importantly, he is a father and husband. Dr. Hopper has devoted his life to helping others feel, perform and be at their best.
Note: All content found on the Resility Health Website, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.