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Improving Posture In The Work Place

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Most of my clients work at an office setting or are exposed to long periods, repetitive movements, improper footwear due to casual wear. Today’s topic will be about the effects of sitting, poor posture, repetitive movements, and footwear; how to combat these issues and how you can be proactive with your health to reduce or eliminate any issues.


When sitting through out the day, our hip flexors are in a constant shortened position due to the hip being flexed for prolonged periods of time. This will lead to a tight hip flexor group; recuts femoris, tensor fascia latae, iliopsoas. In movement you might see this on a person who has an anterior pelvic tilt (excessive lower back extension & hyperextension of the thoracic spine. This will weaken the gluteal muscles because there is a lack of neuromuscular efficiency. This causes postural imbalances, especially sitting in front of a computer.

Our bodies want to automatically relax and lean in from fatigue and the effects of gravity. Rounded shoulders from shortening or overactive muscle of the chest, sternomastoid, and spinal cervical flexors (anterior / front of neck and lateral) occur. The weakening or lengthening of the rotator cuff, rhomboids, mid/ lower trapezius; causes the shoulders to slump forward due to the lack of usage. The forward head position is like the rounded shoulders, if you have one you most likely have dysfunction in the other. The muscles that are overactive are deep cervical stabilizers, and tight upper trapezius and levator scapular muscles of the neck.

Prolong sitting does not only affect our kinetic system but causes a low energy expenditure through out the day and potentially poor cardiorespiratory conditioning. An estimated 75% of American adults do not engage in 30 minutes of low to moderate activity at least 3 to 5 times per week. This increases chronic diseases dramatically, especially for the people who are more inactive due to there careers and just inactivity in general.

Chronic disease that follows inactivity:

- Cardiovascular Disease, coronary heart disease, coronary artery disease, or congestive heart failure

- Hypertension (high blood pressure)

- High cholesterol or other blood lipids disorders

- Stroke or peripheral artery disorders

- Lung or breathing problems.

- Obesity

- Diabetes Mellitus

- Cancer

Other Danger of sitting for too long

- Enzymes that help you burn fat shut down

- Cholesterol metabolism slows down, increasing your risk of coronary artery disease

- Glucose that is not being utilized for energy is turned into fatty acids , increase the risk of diabetes


If lacking proper postural alignment, you reduce the efficiency of nervous system and muscular system to communicate properly to move efficiently throughout set movements performed. The neuromuscular efficiency is key to maintain for proper joint motion and proper distribution of force to alleviate excess stress on our joints and reducing injury.

Proper posture helps the body produce higher levels of function strength and movement. Without good alignment the body will degenerate, altered movement patterns to compensate for poor mechanics and muscle imbalances. The injuries that are common occurrences with postural dysfunctions are ankle sprains, tendonitis, and lower back pain.

Repetitive Patterns

Muscular disfunctions can also occur when there is a pattern movement overload. Repetitive movements are defined as a persistent motion that can cause musculoskeletal injury and dysfunction (NASM2018). These movements can create trauma on the muscle and joints leading to kinetic chain dysfunction, especially if jobs that require a lot of overhead work or awkward position such as painting or factory work. Having the arms over head or have the arm set in a particular position (like a computer mouse); this can lead to shoulder and neck soreness that may result in the tightness of the latissimus dorsi and weaken our rotator cuff (main stabilizer of the shoulder). An imbalance like these can cause improper mechanics and lack of stabilization.

Improper Footwear

Wearing shoes that are to snug on the toes reduce joint movement and articulation in the toes. Over time this can cause the toes to become shortened and twisted leading to bunion formation. This can also occur if your dress shoes such at high heels are worn, the shoes place your ankle complex in a plantarflexed position for long periods of time. This leads to tightness of the gastrocnemius, soleus, and Achille tendon, causing postural imbalances. Decreased dorsiflexion (pulling the toes up), and over pronation of the foot and ankle complex, resulting in flattening of the arches of the feet (NASM2018).

Proactive Actions

Do not worry you have plenty of time to combat the issues listed above. A great way to reduce your sitting time is getting up for 2 to 5 minutes every 30 minutes to move around and get the blood flowing. We want the muscles to reengage, activate, and become lubricated once again so you can keep functioning properly. These movement will pair right along with improving your overall posture!

The link below will lead you to 5 movement that you can preform at the office easily with out any work out equipment needed.

  • Standing hip flexor stretch & TFL

  • Chest door stretch

  • No monies to rotator cuff wall glides

  • Standing wall support quad stretch

  • Wall support leg swing to knee hug

Perform each movement up to 10 to 15 reps 1 to 2 sets. Put a timer on for yourself if you are on time restriction. If performing a stretch hold each movement up to 30 seconds to get the full effects of the stretch.

Repetitive Alternatives

When having to combat repetition in movements the best way is to become aware of your habits. Most of our actions throughout the day are performed out of habit created over time. If we break the habit itself, then we can recreate a new habit. If you are at a job where you do the same thing all day, change it up, try using a different hand or leg once you perform the action or movement. If you notice yourself constantly leaning to the right side to talk on your phone change your hand each time when using that item. Write small reminders for yourself around the office or work area to help keep those small actions in mind.

If you cannot combat the repetitive movement due to factor work or construction, ask to rotate to different job through out the day or week so you can break up the repetitive motion. Being mindful of how we move everyday will help us become more aware and have a more in tune mind body connection. Set alarms for yourself on your phone or put the actions in your daily planner to make it a priority to make sure you are changing things up.

Fix The Footwear

One of the most important things you can do for your body is have proper footwear. If your base of support is faulty your movement will be. If you are still wearing shoes from 2 years ago, then its probably time to switch it up. The recommended length of time for wearing shoes is up to 6 months, after the quality of your shoe starts to deteriorate and reduce arch & ankle support.

Do a check- in every couple month on how your shoe wear is treating you. I always tell my clients that I work with is to constantly play with your feet and toes, you might not be able to do this in the office, but you can bring a lacrosse ball with you and roll your feet out while you work. This will enhance spatial proprioception for your feet, wake the joint of the feet up, and increase circulation through out the arches and toes. You will be able to perform proper dorsi flexion an stabilize better as well.

Finally make sure your moving at least 30 minutes a day to keep your body function at an appropriate level to help combat any chronic diseases. Sitting for longer than 3 hours at a time is very detrimental to your health and does takes time away from your life. Be mindful of you’re the movements that you are or are not doing and just remember the more you move the better you will run!


Chelik.A (2017,March 21) Exercise to Counteract Too Much Sitting. American Council of Exercise.

Lucett. S. MS,NASM-CPT, PES, CES () Top Three Postural Problems Caused by Sitting and How To Fix Them. National Academy of Sport Medicine.

Clark , M. Lucett, S. McGrill, E. Sutton, B.(2018). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training (6th Edition). Fitness Assessment Pg 111-112

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