In the previous blog about posture (you can read it here), I talked about posture mainly on a general level: what aspects of well-being it affects, and how problems caused by bad posture could be prevented. This blog post goes a little deeper into what specifically working in an office, in front of a computer screen, does to posture. Also for this blog like for the previous post about posture, I have interviewed the long-term physiotherapist Malla Helenius, who always tries to dig deeper in her work and focus not only on the symptoms but also on their causes. Over the years, Malla has noticed how many problems are caused by things related to posture – to me it was almost confusing what all posture affects! In this blog, I will also tell about my experience in Malla's posture check and Malla's view on the effect of the Gymba® Board on posture.
Check your posture!
The thought of checking your posture with someone else can seem uncomfortable; maybe there’s been a posture check done by a health nurse during teenage years, which may not have been a positive experience, or maybe it's just that putting yourself under someone’s assessment feels uncomfortable. However, I highly recommend a professional posture assessment, because at best you can get life-changing insights and tips!
I was also a little nervous about the assessment of my posture thinking "What will be revealed?", but Malla's gentle and expert handling my mind was put at ease. Malla asked me to take a natural standing position and then started to assess which body tensions and habits affect what. I have a slightly forward-turned pelvis. According to Malla, the reasons behind the change in pelvic position are, for example, pregnancy and my work history in a kindergarten, where I often carried children. Now, based on the instructions I received from Malla, I have corrected my posture, because now I know how to pay attention to the right things. Those tips have also helped me in the gym, for example to find a better position when doing squats. You can watch a clip of my posture on our Instagram account (click here).
How does working in front of a computer affect posture and our bodies?
The effect of working in front of a computer on posture depends, first of all, on whether the working conditions are ergonomic: furniture, accessories and their adjustments, and lighting. When all the aforementioned are taken care of, it is worth paying attention to your own posture and working positions, because posture also affects breathing, the functioning of the abdominal organs, concentration, blood circulation and metabolism, lymphatic circulation and even mood.
Office work and working in front of a computer strains the body very monotously predisposing the body to pain and diseases, e-g- for sciatica problems and various strain injuries. Muscles easily become inactive, weakening muscle strength and contributing to muscle imbalances when some muscles are tense and some too inactive. The load and strain on the joint areas is also unbalanced in office work.
The most typical incorrect positions of sitting and standing
- Leaning front
- The back is round
- The chin protrudes forward
- Shoulders and upper arms turn inwards
- The muscles that support the body cannot support the spine
- One foot on top of the other
- Groins are tight
- The pelvis tilts forward
- The back muscles are in static tension and the abdominal muscles are inactive.
- Leaning back (hips on the front edge of the chair, back (shoulder blades) leaning against the back support)
- The bottom of the neck pushes forward, causing strain on the neck
- The muscles of the body remain inactive, the spine is in an unfavorable position.
- The pelvis thrusts forward
- Buttocks and lower back in static tension
- Shoulders and upper arms turn inwards
- The deep abdominal muscles cannot support the spine
- Pelvic tilt forward
- Knees overextend
- Lumbar extension increases, causing pressure on the lower back
- Shifting the weight on one leg
- The support provided by the middle gluteal muscle disappears
- The supporting muscles of the middle body are inactive
- Strains the hip and twists the spine
The adverse effects of sitting and standing can be minimized by using healthy and safe position and working habits, and by adding breaks from work. According to a study published at the beginning of the year by the Institute of Occupational Health, even a couple of minute walking breaks every half hour was an effective way to minimize the disadvantages of sitting.
A physiotherapist's opinion about the Gymba® Board from the point of view of posture
"The Gymba® Board really helps maintaining posture and, if used regularly, also improves posture," says Malla Helenius. "The Gymba® Board creates good conditions for standing without getting tired, without pain, activating the body, because thanks to the Gymba® Board, the legs and pelvis are placed in an optimal position by themselves. This manifests itself in the fact that the person standing on the board recognizes that they are getting taller, and their posture is improving." Malla continues.
According to Malla, the Gymba® Board's rocking movement and cross-flexibility are top features. When standing on the Gymba® Board, the pelvis remains in a good position also in the lateral direction, which manifests itself in the way that when swinging or moving the legs alternately like walking, the pelvis remains stable. The movements improve posture, strain the joints appropriately and activate the muscles safely.
Malla advises that when standing on the Gymba® Board, you should pay attention that both toes and heels are on top of the “wings” on the sides of the board. With her customers, Malla has noticed that many tend to leave their heels on the concaved part of the board. The features of the Gymba® Board can be utilized when you also raise your heels on the wings.