POSTURE, MOVEMENT AND MOBILITY WHILST STUDYING Posture check!
Are you slouching over your desk? Did this prompt make you sit up straight? We all likely remember being told at school or by our parents to sit up straight and therefore know that good posture is important; however, good posture tends to go out the window when engrossed in study. Sitting at a desk for numerous hours each day is a reality as a student and often unavoidable and places the body in a less than optimal position. Movement during the day can significantly improve our posture, increase overall wellbeing and alleviate discomfort from muscle tightness, stiff joints, and even headaches. At Vast Fitness Academy, we recognise the importance of movement for our team members.
We practice what we preach as a health and fitness RTO and would like to share some of the strategies and activities we include in our day-to-day operations. Walking whilst brainstorming and letting new information land. Incorporating walking breaks during long study periods can increase general wellbeing and allow exposure to fresh air. Walking breaks are excellent opportunities to brainstorm, mull over and absorb newly acquired information, plan, problem-solve and give you a well-deserved mental break. You’ll arrive back at your desk feeling refreshed and motivated! Posture: sitting vs standing.
Standing desks are becoming common due to their numerous benefits, including improved posture and reduced back pain. Whilst standing can be beneficial, standing for too long may have the opposite effect and aggravate the lower back or lead to poor posture. Switching between standing and sitting throughout the day is ideal to reap the benefits, with 15-30 minutes spent standing each hour. Tips on managing your posture through the day include:
- Schedule reminders (a timer) to pop up when it is time to swap from sitting to standing or do a ‘posture-check.’
- If you do not have a standing desk, take regular breaks to move around, even walk a lap of the block or your backyard.
Daily movement activities. Schedule activities for the time of day your productivity and energy levels begin to slump. Typically, this occurs mid-afternoon. Activities can be adapted to suit your study space at home, or you may head out for a change of scenery. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Walk around the block and finish with stretching and mobility
- Meditation – there are numerous short guided meditations available on YouTube
- Hit the gym, do yoga or online fitness classes, walk your dog if you have one, or visit the beach or park for a jog or stroll.
- Have the scheduled activities pop up as a reminder in your calendar or on your phone.
Benefits of movement. Active people are healthy people. Benefits of movement throughout the day include:
- Increased productivity and engagement
- Improved cognitive function and attention
- Improved blood circulation and heart health
- Mental clarity and reduced brain fog
- Reduced stress.
Mobility, movement and stretching exercises. Exercises at home require no special equipment; however, if you have a tennis ball or spiky ball, there are increased options. Listed below are some exercises you can try:
- Seated ankle rotations
- Seated head/neck and shoulder rotations
- Seated neck stretches
- Seated chest opener
- Seated or standing/kneeling hip flexor stretch (if seated, shift to one side of the chair and extend the leg behind you with the knee towards the ground).
- Standing or seated: rolling a tennis or spiky ball under the foot
- Standing: back and shoulder tennis/spiky ball massage.