Are your everyday activities sabotaging your safety? If you suffer from persistent, nagging symptoms such as a stiff neck, lower-back discomfort, or tension headaches, your daily habits may be to blame. Most of us don’t associate these pains with our repetitive, poorly executed movement patterns such as sleeping in a spine-straining position, or incorrectly picking up a heavy object.
Good form isn’t just for the gym. To protect your body and move safely through day-to-day tasks, mindfulness is a must. Undo the damage of your daily bad habits, and prevent future pain, with these three modifications to popular pain-inducing positions:
The problematic pickup. Lower-back injuries can be debilitating. The spine is a super-sensitive area, and yet we bend, twist, and reach without much care or awareness of our actions. It takes only one poorly planned bend to tweak these muscles, or cause disk herniation.
Whether you are reaching for a lightweight pencil or bulky box, always lift with the legs, not the back. When moving quickly, it’s easy to forget this rule.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for properly picking up an item off the floor:
Drawn-out desk time. A sedentary lifestyle is a major contributing factor for weight gain and weight-related chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. And because so much of our workweek is spent seated at a desk, it’s important to find ways to get your heart pumping and circulation flowing throughout the day. Minor modifications such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, being active on lunch breaks, or standing up each hour to stretch, will go a long way to whittle your waistline and improve your sense of well-being.
Another occupational hazard: lousy posture. Hunching over a keyboard, craning your neck to scrutinize the screen, and sitting on a seat that’s not properly adjusted can cause muscle imbalances throughout your body. Over time, these asymmetries can lead to stiffness, pain, and injury because one side of your body is working harder to compensate for any weakness that developed from misalignments.
The next time you’re at your desk, rearrange your workstation to promote better posture and productivity:
A bad sleeper. If you’ve found the perfect position for optimal sleep, it’s hard to not stick with that. However, for those true-blue belly sleepers, this position can be more of a nightmare than a dream for your spine.
Snoozing on your stomach compresses the natural "S" curve of your spine and swivels your neck awkwardly to the side. But if you’re unwilling to adjust your resting position, here are a few ways to ease the spinal stress of too much tummy time.