Now that we’re in month three of #WFH, we asked celebrity body and posture expert Dr. Liza about how to maintain good posture while sitting at our makeshift desks. Below you’ll find her tips and tricks for better alignment. It’s time to straighten up!
For most of us, working from home is the new norm; improvising the creation of work stations with little guidance on how to do so safely.
Over the past few months, I’ve seen people take to social media with some eyebrow-raising setups that are without a doubt harming their posture. Even worse, they could lead to health implications like anxiety down the line.
Many of us are guilty of hunching over phones and laptops for hours on end without moving, which is why now is the right time to stop bad habits in their tracks. It’s not hard to take stock of the environment you’re working in and implement practices that will help improve posture, leaving you happier and more productive overall.
Start by ensuring you have the basics right: set your laptop at eye level, stay close to natural light, avoiding working from coffee tables, counters or bars, and try to work from a chair with a high back. Then, try the moves that are listed below.
Also, don’t forget to stand up and walk around at least once every hour, even if it’s just to get your caffeine fix.
1. The Pec Stretch
How-to: Interlock your hands behind your back, pull them towards the ground, and squeeze your shoulder blades together for five seconds with the body in an upright position. Repeat.
Why try it? This move stretches out the pectoral muscles, opening up the chest cavity to improve oxygen flow into the lungs. Opening up the chest is beneficial for reducing the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which has been known to inhibit the immune system. In addition, the muscles between your shoulder blades will get stronger the more this stretch is practiced.
2. Thoracic Extension
How-to: Stand or stay seated in your chair while clasping both hands behind your head. Gently arch backwards and squeeze your should blades together for five seconds. You should feel a comfortable stretch through your chest. Repeat.
Why try it? This stretch reduces hunching in the middle back and opens up the chest, helping to alleviate neck and upper back pain.
3. Trapezius Neck Stretch
How-to: To stretch out your neck, hold onto the bottom of your seat with your left hand, then take your right hand to the left ear and gently push the head down toward the right shoulder to release built-up tension. Try to bring your right ear as close to the top of your right shoulder as possible. Don’t forget to repeat on the opposite side.
Why try it? Repeating this motion throughout the day will help you stretch tight muscles in your neck and shoulders. Once tension is released in these muscles, you’ll also be less inclined to hunch over.
Now that your space is set up and you have exercises on hand, my last piece of advice is to dress for success. While working from home, we don’t have to get dressed in the morning, meaning that flips flops and unsupportive slippers are probably among the most popular footwear choice at the moment. However, these shoes won’t do your feet any favours.
This is why I designed the doctor-approved Dr. Liza shoe line. The Dr. Liza Flat, for example, is a balanced and versatile ballet flat with a 0.5 inch heel and orthotic insole that’s ideal for wearing around the house or to the grocery store. The Dr. Liza Sandal (launching this month!) is arriving just in time for the warm weather too, with an orthotic insole that controls overpronation.
I know it’s easy to fall into bad habits when there’s no pressure to leave the house, but next time you put on a pair of shoes, think about the physiological and psychological impacts of that decision.