Remember your mother telling you not to slouch?
Some electronic devices encourage you to move – but many, such as computers, tablets and smartphones, can result in a hunched posture, inviting tight, painful muscles and poor body alignment.
“Good posture helps maintain good body mechanics, which lets us move well,” says Aimee Nicotera, Fitness Director at Canyon Ranch in Lenox. She offers these tips to combat computer crouch. Benefits include improved posture, increased circulation and prevention of repetitive motion injuries:
- When your hands are on the keyboard, keep your wrists in a neutral position, not flexed up or down.
- Elbows, wrists and hands should be in line. If necessary, use a wrist support.
- Keep both feet flat on the floor.
- Sit upright, in a posture-friendly chair that supports your back. Shoulders should be relaxed, not held forward.
- Try sitting on a ball – if you don’t sit up straight, you’ll roll off!
- Use hands-free gadgets, such as a Bluetooth headset, for relaxed muscles and better posture. When using a traditional phone, avoid holding it with your shoulder. Tightening neck and shoulder muscles pulls on the skeletal structure and may create imbalances.
- Do frequent stretches:
Face forward, tilt your ear to one shoulder; roll the head down and forward, then repeat to the other side.
Roll your shoulders several times, first forward, then backward.
Wrist stretch #1: Place your hands in prayer position, then push against one hand. Repeat with the other hand.
Wrist stretch #2: Extend your arms in front of you. Clasp your hands, then rotate wrists in a circular motion so palms face forward. Repeat.