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5 Steps to Fixing Your Posture and Saying Goodbye to Back Pain

5 Steps to Fixing Your Posture and Saying Goodbye to Back Pain

The statistics are clear: our screen resolutions have never been higher, and our immune systems have never been weaker. Constantly wired, we spend much of our time clicking from our seats. While some generate social media traffic and others complete side quests, we’ve all become accustomed to a mostly sedentary life. Even when brainstorming, we remain bent over our desks, with our minds constantly rushing and our bodies inactive.

It takes little time and even less effort to become inert and slouchy, but such habits shortly and inevitably lead to pain. Sore backs, necks, and shoulders are then frequently followed up by poor breathing, digestive issues, tension headaches, and even stress and depression. Still, all of these burdensome consequences can be easily nipped in the bud or alleviated once they start emerging — all it takes is a bit of awareness. Here are our five tips for offloading back pain by fixing your posture.

1. Stretch, Ready, Go

Over the years, we’ve all become experts at finding a good excuse for not being physically active. Either we work hard and have no time to devote to exercising, or it’s simply too hard to begin with. Well, fitness programs have come a long way since gyms were the only places equipped for working out. Nowadays, there are hundreds of them for each muscle group, specific purpose, and particular lifestyle habits available online, and most of them require not more than a half an hour per day.

Even if some toning exercises are too demanding, good posture routines never are. All they require is a bit of stretching, a couple of shoulder rolls, chest releases, a pyramid, a chair pose, and some standing side bends — basically, it’s a 7-step routine we’ve all done on our PE classes that lasts no longer than 20 minutes.

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As simple as they are, these exercises will not only relieve you of aches and allow you to breathe, sit and function normally, but they will also grant you a couple of minutes of unadulterated peace and harmonize your body and mind. It’s a few drops of sweat a day for a lifetime of being pain-free.

2. Tech Support

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    However bad for our health, slouching seems quite impossible to avoid. Described as the “smoking of our generation,” it’s a habit easily developed not only by passionate bingers and enthused gamers, but by anyone with long studying and working hours as well. Luckily, smart technology has been significantly improving our lives for the last decade, and when this particular issue is in question, it can help a great deal.

    Meet wearable tech! It’s clever and intuitive, cool, unnoticeable, and above all, hugely beneficial for our alignment. A fine selection of magnetic sensors, posture braces, activity trackers, and posture improvement devices are now available and mostly affordable for most of us in need of something to remind us of our bodies while our brains are working hard.

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    The principle of work behind these wearables varies from simple sitting correction to complex signal reminders. Some of them emit tiny vibrations to your lower back each time your spine starts to curve while sitting, some monitor walking posture, and others simply prevent your back from slouching by keeping them straight. Taken together, they are an important addition to regular exercises and a much-needed support for your sitting body.

    3. Legs on the Floor, Eyes on the Screen

    An ergonomically correct workstation needs much more than a comfortable chair. It’s a space you spend most of your time, whether focused on long-term business plans and current exams or excited about that heart-stopping landscape view from the ruins of Drahim Castle. Having it properly set up will not only make your sitting hours more pleasurable but will keep your spine, joints and muscles pressure-free and healthy in the long run.

    The natural sitting posture, as experts claim, is quite similar to your driving pose. Scoot your chair from the desk, and try adopting it. Once you find the position that keeps you straight but feeling comfortable enough, start adjusting your environment accordingly. The space between your keyboard and mouse should allow your arms to form a 90-degree angle, and your screen should be at proper distance and height in order for you to avoid “turtling.”

    Only when all of these elements are in place, your ergo chair can do its magic. Choose it to suit the shape, length, and height of your body and, if needed, find one that won’t allow you to change your pose too often.

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    4. Harmonize Your Body and Mind

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      Keeping your back straight and your shoulders and neck in perfect alignment may take some time getting used to. While the mind concentrates on work, the body relaxes and starts to slouch; before you finally become aware of your poor posture, a couple of hours have already passed. Luckily, there are a few magical tricks that can keep you in contact with your body, and remind your brain to send signals down to your spine.

      “It’s very important for us to be able to stretch and open up and improve our range of motion,” says Jonathan F. Bean of Harvard Medical School in Boston. Every half an hour, if not more frequently, stand up from your seat and stretch your legs or simply sit up, straighten your spine, pull your shoulders back and breathe. Until you adopt this as a regular habit, scribble a note to yourself on your computer screen as a reminder.

      Even if you don’t have many difficulties with this, consider introducing a yoga session to your weekly routine. There’s simply not a better technique for reconnecting your mind with your body — it will straighten your core but make you more flexible at the same time and remind you to breathe properly. Most importantly, one yoga class a week will make you aware of the utter importance of living healthy and taking care of both your spirit and physique.

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      5. Inhale; Exhale

      Hyperkyphosis, as scientists call it, or bad posture, as we all know it, unavoidably results in restricted and shallow breathing. The two are always interconnected, which is why improving them both is paramount for your overall health.

      Apart from being much healthier, breathing through a diaphragm is actually the only normal respiratory technique. Unlike upper chest breathing, which forces a lot of air out and thus causing us to feel breathless, agitated, and tired, this technique lets just enough air and does so in a controlled and deliberate manner. Additionally, it helps you to stay focused and aware of your body, something you’ll definitely need for improving your posture.

      However beneficial, these five tips are highly unlikely to get you anywhere if practiced alone. Once you start exercising regularly and breathing correctly, alter your sitting habits to support your back, shoulders, and neck, and embrace wearable tech to remind you of the importance of sitting straight in case you do eventually slip, your posture will finally be perfect, and your body pain-free.

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/scott-webb-39047/ via pexels.com

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      Nemanja Manojlovic

      Editor at MyCity Web

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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