You can blame the pandemic for a lot of things, but bad posture has been plaguing many long before the coronavirus drove us to stay in. It’s not even just the way we sit at our desks that is problematic, but the way we do pretty much anything, from walking to standing and, over the last couple of decades, texting. Yes, “text neck” is officially a thing.
Stiff necks, sore backs, headaches, rounded shoulders and general aches and pains are all symptoms of poor posture. But fixing it isn’t as simple as sitting or standing a little straighter. “Many sources use words like ‘neutral’, ‘upright’ and ‘straight’ in describing what a static good posture looks like, but in real life, we are constantly moving while engaged in any activity,” explains Dr Kenny Wong, chief therapist at The Stretch Clinic Singapore. “Good posture refers to how well a person can move through a range of motions without restrictions or tightness.”
Of course, what it means to have good posture can vary between individuals. A rock climber, for example, is normally a little hunched over at any time but that isn’t an indication of poor posture or a weak back. Conversely, they would have quite a strong one to support all that climbing.
“Any position, good or bad, when held for too long, affects our posture and will possibly become a bad habit,” continues Dr Wong. Such habits as slouching and looking downwards at devices can cause a strain that is felt in the neck, back, elbows and even wrists. They can even affect sleep. “The habits formed during waking moments are replicated in sleep, like how someone who hunches a lot during the day would prefer to sleep in a foetal position at night. We have become creatures of flexion. Hence, we need to work on extension.”
A $2,000 Herman Miller isn’t necessarily the way to do that. While we should invest in a good chair, given how many hours we spend in them, price tags aren’t indicative of how well the chair will meet your needs. “Consider the following factors. Is it comfortable? Are you in good form? Can you adjust the height and recline? Does it allow you to get on and off without pain? Give it a 30-minute trial,” Dr Wong advises.
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