If you’ve been paying attention to the latest health and wellness crazes, you’ve probably heard about standing desks. The idea is that it’s unhealthy for so many people to be sitting all day at work. Standing, at least periodically during the day, can have all sorts of beneficial effects on the body, from improved circulation to better immune function. The science and limits around this craze are still being discussed, but a lot of people have already felt benefits from limiting their “sitting” hours during the day. In fact, some people and companies have even experimented with treadmill desks. These allow you to actually walk while working.
The point of this blog post is not to talk about whether standing or treadmill desks are a good idea, or whether the claims behind them are valid. Instead, we want to talk about standing posture in general – because no matter what you think about standing desks, there’s no doubt that standing posture is important.
When you think about posture, you probably think of your position while sitting. There’s no way to downplay the importance of sitting posture – it has real and significant effects on the body’s health (especially spinal balance and alignment). And since the average person spends upwards of 8 hours per day sitting down, it becomes even more important to maintain excellent seated posture.
But standing posture is equally important, and failure to maintain good standing posture can lead to the same health problems as poor seated posture. What happens when we adopt poor standing posture, day in and day out? The muscles and joints are subject to increased weight and tension. You feel fatigued and drained of energy. Your back, neck and legs feel stiff. Eventually, you can develop chronic back and neck problems due to spinal misalignments.
The American Chiropractic Association gives a number of tips for correcting and maintaining good standing posture, including:
- Use the balls of your feet to hold most of your weight
- Stand with your knees slightly bent
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width
- Keep your arms hanging at the sides of your body without strain
- Stand up straight, making use of your full height
- Keep your shoulders back
- Work on keeping your head level and straight
Seeking help after years of bad posture
Poor posture in the seated and/or standing position can have cumulative health effects over the years. Eventually the spine will go out of alignment and out of balance as a result of the constant pressures of gravity and poor posture – and when this happens, seeking professional help from a qualified doctor of chiropractic can be a highly effective way to restore the spine to full health. Most people are amazed at just how energetic and alert they feel when the spine and joints are restored. However – beware of falling back into poor posture after your treatment! Ask your chiropractor for tips on how to maintain better posture while sitting and standing, and you’ll notice the health benefits for years to come.