Most of who work in front of a computer spend the day with our arms in front of us, shoulders forward, and our heads tilted down. Then we walk around with our eyes and head looking down at the cell phones we hold in front of us. Our lives don’t require us to build up strong core muscles that support our backs.
Is it any surprise then that we collectively have terrible posture?
And that forward-bent spine might have implications beyond an ugly slouch. Some think that posture problems are the source of chronic back pain, the leading cause of new and existing long-term disability claims.
Most experts agree that fixing these problems would at least help solve back pain, and would come with other benefits too. Improved posture boosts confidence and is even associated with lower levels of stress hormones in your body.
So how do we start sitting — and standing — up straight?
The real key is strengthening our core muscles so they can adequately support our spine. Losing weight helps too. Carrying extra body fat and having weaker abdominal muscles is likely to pull your back forward — causing that slump and potentially, back pain too.
But quick, small steps can help too. An easy one to do at your desk is a shoulder roll, according to Esther Gokhale, the author of a book about back pain, who the New York Times has referred to as the “posture guru” of Silicon Valley.
Having your shoulders hunched forward makes your back bend in an unnatural position, but a simple shoulder roll can help realign them. You can’t just try to pull them back though. That’s hard to maintain and won’t last long.
Here’s how Gokhale recommends fixing that shoulder hunch:
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