Are you treating your body kindly even when you are doing nothing at all? When you repeat poor habits on a day-in, day-out basis, your body's structure eventually changes by adapting to the bad pose, causing pain and misalignment. In addition to bringing awareness to your breath, bringing awareness to your habitual body postures as you sit and stand throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to stay balanced. Watch out for these mistakes.
1. Problem: Poor ergonomics at your desk, including a chair that doesn't support your back.
Solution: Use an office chair with elbow supports; add a lumbar-back support cushion. Sit square on to your computer. Knees should be right angle to floor; consider a footrest to elevate feet. Your screen should be at eye level. If you use a laptop, raise it on a stand or dock and use a separate keyboard and mouse. Keep forearms parallel to floor as you write.
Tip: A large-sized Swiss ball (inflatable exercise ball) makes a good chair substitute because it encourages this posture while making you engage your abdominals and support your own back, thereby building strength as you sit. Make sure it is strong enough to withstand puncture by staples or sharp objects on your office floor.
2. Problem: Long stretches of typing without standing up and stretching the shoulders and wrists.
Solution: Every 20 minutes, stand up, stretch arms to your sides, then pull them back by squeezing the shoulder blades. Flex wrists backwards as you do so. Lift and drop your shoulders 10 times. Breathe.
Tip: If you work on a laptop, use a separate desktop mouse so that your hand is not constantly curled over your touchpad, a habit that is often the source of hand, wrist, forearm, and even shoulder pain.
3. Problem: Cradling the phone between chin and shoulder will shorten muscles on one side of the neck and overstretch those on the other, eventually causing chronic pain.
Solution: Get a hands-free headset.
4. Problem: Walking in high heels throws you out of your natural posture and forces the muscles to work hard to hold you upright. Tension headaches, lower-back pain, and nagging pains or aches in your muscles and joints are symptoms of high-heel overkill.
Solution: Save the heels for special occasions, and use stretches to loosen up.
|Excerpted from Mariel Hemingway's Healthy Living from the Inside Out by Mariel Hemingway. Copyright 2007 by Mariel Hemingway. Excerpted with permission by HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced without permission in writing from the publisher.|