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If you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk for the majority of the day, then you are probably all-too-familiar with the lower back pain that sets in by the end of the day, the stiff neck, and the tense muscles. When you enter adulthood, you’re no longer lectured by your mother to sit up straight and stop slouching, but that advice is even more pertinent when bad posture as an adult is linked to serious health problems such as back, neck, and shoulder pain, headaches, and even altered hormone levels. To stay healthy and comfortable at work, make sure you always keep posture in mind with these four tips.

Take breaks

It is important to take several breaks throughout the work day for many reasons, your physical health being one of them. Sitting for long periods of time is not healthy for anyone, leading to increased pressure, reduced blood flow, weaker abdominal muscles, and more brittle bones over time. Poor posture and discomfort now can lead to much more serious problems, such as osteoporosis, down the road. Chiropractors recommend getting up from your desk every half hour for two minutes to stretch and walk around. If you can’t afford to do that, then try incorporating brief walks into your daily schedule- take a walk around the block on a nice day or just take advantage of opportunities to stretch your legs such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to a bathroom that is farther away. According to Mashable, integrating constant motion into your day has also been shown to improve concentration and efficiency, so you really can’t go wrong with taking a few walking breaks!

Utilize products

There are a variety of products to assist with posture including lumbar support pillows, ergonomic office chairs, and even apps and devices that track your posture and alert you when you’re slouching. The body’s natural inclination is to slouch when in a relaxed state, so you may be doing it without even realizing it. If you’re worried you won’t remember to sit up straight on your own, then take advantage of whatever products you can to minimize back strain.

Be aware of your body

It’s important that you become more conscious of your posture if you wish to maintain good posture and ergonomic techniques in your daily life. This doesn’t mean you have to think about your posture all the time, but take note of when you’re in pain and what may be causing it. When you’re sitting at your desk, try keeping your ears, shoulders, and hips in a vertical line and don’t cross your legs- keeping your feet flat on the ground or propped up on a flat surface is the best way to keep your spine straight and reduce risk of pain.

Stretch

Going to the gym doesn’t have to be the only time you exercise! There are several simple, quick exercises that can be done right at your desk. Try tucking in your chin to relieve stiff neck muscles or shrugging your shoulders to loosen tense muscles. You may feel a little silly doing it, but you can stretch your arms over your head, twist your body, and stretch out your legs- you can even do yoga at your desk as the instructional video below demonstrates!