The majority of people have all heard the same discussions of daily life choices that lead to a healthier life overall; things like taking the stairs over escalators and elevators, exercising regularly, maintaining a good and balanced diet, and having a good sleep routine.
However, there are other elements that should be worked into daily routines in order to improve health that might be a little less obvious.
Did You Say Ergonomics?
Ergonomics may be a trendy topic, but it is usually within the confines of productivity and the workforce. However, there are decisions that we make every single day even outside of work that can put strain on our bodies. Small decisions like the way you sit, the type of bag you carry, even how you use your phone can all have just as much of an impact on your health as does your keyboard or work chair.
Why Your Purse is a Pain in Your Neck
Many ladies admit they are guilty of this: going for pretty over practicality. However, there are some significant problems that these purses on our shoulders can create in our bodies. Not only does the weight of the bag place excessive strain on the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, but it causes your body to try to compensate for the extra weight and your skeletal alignment begins to shift to one side. All of this adds to pain all over your body and can even create wear and tear in the shoulder joint itself (degenerative joint disease).
Counteract this by carrying a smaller, less heavy bag – think of a clutch instead of Mary Poppins’ never-ending bag of surprises. What’s even better, carry a bag with back straps that distributes the weight evenly over your body. There are adult options available, but for those with young children a good idea is to ingrain good sensibility early on with backpacks like this. These options are not only better for their overall health, but also do a good job at looking cool as well.
Slouching at your desk, on the bus, at the kitchen table or on your couch: how you sit has a huge impact on your spinal health and has been linked to headache problems and many other skeletal ill-alignments. Slouching puts added weight and stress on your neck and can cause back pain, or even your ribs if you are slouching sideways on the couch for example. Moreover, slouching actually decreases the range of motion and strength of your muscles and joints.
Counteract this by sitting mindfully. This isn’t to say that you can’t relax, but training yourself to sit in a comfortable way that doesn’t add extra stress to the rest of your body is a good practice.
Take a Texting Timeout
Speaking of a terrible posture position that is a real pain in the neck, enter texting. Apparently the 60 degree angle that one’s head is placed at while looking at their phone and texting is approximately sixty pounds of strain. When you consider that the majority of people are staring down at their phones for longer than one hour throughout the day, this added stress is causing significant changes to the cervical spine, as well as the supporting ligaments and tendons, and overall musculature.
Counteract this by training yourself to look at your phone on a level angle, and when possible use voice texting to reduce typing and reading time.
So, in summary, in order to practice good health habits, ergonomics cannot stop at your office space, you have to mindfully practice them throughout your daily routine.