Posture Checkpoints

Throughout the day I have developed little cues that cause me to assess and fix my posture. By developing these triggers, I am able to develop a continuous focus on good posture. I think this is a temporary behavior. Once I have fully habituated to good posture, I probably will not need to think about it nearly as much. But in the mean time, I have posture checkpoints.

One major checkpoint for me is sinks. Whenever I am at a sink, I check and reset my posture. Are my feet forward? Are my gluteal muscles activated? Is my rib cage in correct alignment with the rest of my body with my shoulders back? I do a quick check whenever I am at a sink.

When I walk around the office, I try to think about my upper body posture. I try to focus on keeping my shoulders back and my scapula flat against my back rib cage. This habit alone probably reversed my rounded shoulder posture that I had developed from sitting in front of a computer with bad posture for almost two decades. Slowly over time, my pectoral muscles stretched out and my upper back muscles started to shorten and activate more. It is fun to feel how unobstructed your breathing feels when your upper back muscles are activating nicely. It feels good to be able to contract muscles that I did not even know I had.

Another checkpoint for me is right before I go to bed. Even though I know I am probably going to move into a bad position when I fall asleep, I try to make sure that I have my body in a nice neutral position before I fall asleep. Sometimes that means moving a pillow into places to keep my spine and pelvis more neutral while sleeping on my side.

I am also trying to develop a posture checkpoint related to sitting in a chair. I have not yet managed to develop it well, and I still find myself in a state of horrible posture while sitting in a chair or in front of a computer. Somehow, this is the hardest bad posture habit for me to break. I think it might be because I can focus so fully on programming or other tasks that I totally lose focus of what my body is doing, and it defaults to bad old habits.

Even though I have managed to reverse some of the ill effects of bad posture while sitting in front of a computer, I have not managed to stop doing it. I would definitely be open to suggestions for how to periodically assess your posture while working in front of a computer. One idea I've heard of is to have a device that vibrates at a periodic interval to remind you of something. You choose what it reminds you of, so I could choose sitting posture. Another idea would be to not let myself think about anything else unless my posture is good. Basically, make yourself so picky and annoyed by your bad posture that you cannot do anything else until you correct it. I think eventually this could work, but the pain and initial productivity loss might not be worth it. One last idea would be to mostly ban sitting from my life. For example, I could try to use my standing desks more frequently and build up my standing endurance. This is something I want to do anyway, but I feel like it is a false solution. I want to be able to have a good posture, even when I am forced to sit.

Do you have any checkpoints where you correct your posture? What cues do you have to think about your posture or body mechanics? Any ideas how I can fix my posture while engrossed by a computer?

published 2015-04-22

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