Guest Post: A Lesson in Posture

24 Oct

Happy Monday Office Pretties! We thought we would start this week off  by sharing a helpful guest post from Pilates instructor Robin Long. I (Laura) have known Robin since middle school and am excited to share her easy tips for reducing tension and looking relaxed and confident. Robin trains some of the Silicon Valley’s top women executives and entrepreneurs and is known for her unique approach to fitness that incorporates restoring balance to the body and the mind (and who doesn’t need more of that?!). She’s also the founder of The Balanced Life, an inspiring blog that challenges the negative messages about our bodies we receive and the impact they have on our self image, motivation and success. Read on! XO – Laura

As a dedicated Office Pretty reader, I love Laura & Jill’s expert tips on incorporating fashion into the workplace. You might be wondering what a Pilates trainer is doing on a fashion blog, but I’m here today to help you look better in your clothes. No, don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to exercise more and watch your diet, I’m going to help you look better in your clothes without ever stepping foot into a gym (hooray!).

My secret to instantly looking better in your Office Pretty wear? Perfect your posture.

Slouching your shoulders and hunching your back can ruin even the most carefully crafted outfit because, let’s be honest, poor posture just isn’t pretty.

Before I teach you how to avoid the perils of poor posture that invade the workplace, take a moment to notice how you’re sitting as you read this. Are you hunched forward over your keyboard? Are your shoulders tense? Are you leaning over to one side?

(Photo from JCrew)

In the midst of a busy, stressful day, posture is usually one of the last things we think about, but proper posture may be more significant than you think.

As a Pilates trainer, most of my clients are women, like you, who are passionate about their careers. As a result, I deal with the “effects” of an office job on a daily basis: sore wrists, neck tension, back pain, headaches and bodies riled with stress. Sound familiar?

If so, there’s good news: The cure can be found in simple adjustments to your daily posture.

Here are four practical steps you can take to immediately improve your posture:

  1.  Adjust your workspace. Your computer screen should be at eye-level to reduce strain on your neck.  Your feet should rest flat on you’re the ground.  Avoid crossing your legs to reduce back pain.  In addition, be sure that your desk is at a proper height so that you don’t have to hunch your shoulders in order to reach your keyboard. Click here for an in-depth description of proper ergonomics.
  2. Take frequent stretch breaks. My favorite tip is to set a reminder in your outlook calendar every 30 – 60 minutes to remind you to adjust your posture and do a little bit of stretching.  The dreaded “computer shoulders” are caused by the muscles in the front of your body shortening. It’s imperative to stretch them on a daily basis. Try placing both arms in the frame of a door and gently leaning forward to stretch out these tight muscles.
  3. Use your core. To ensure that you’re sitting up straight throughout the day, engage your core by drawing your belly button in toward your spine. This helps you to engage your deepest abdominal muscles and simultaneously takes pressure off of the spine (a leading cause of back pain). I also strongly encourage you to include core strength training in your exercise routine. Pilates is the most efficient form of core training and will have the most profound impact on your posture in the shortest amount of time (yes, I’m biased, but it’s true).
  4. Switch sides. Do you always wear your purse on your right shoulder? Carrying weight on the same side day after day can lead to pain and postural imbalances. Be intentional and switch shoulders from time to time to keep your body balanced and strong.

Perfecting your posture will make you appear taller, slimmer, and most importantly, more confident. So next time you’re putting together an outfit, pull it all together by standing up straight, relaxing your shoulders and engaging your core. No outfit is complete without good posture.

Want to connect with Robin? For daily inspiration, a confidence boost and healthy tips and recipes, check out The Balanced Life or catch up with her on Facebook or Twitter

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4 Responses to “Guest Post: A Lesson in Posture”

  1. eviemethugh October 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Literally as I am reading this, everything I am doing is wrong. I started off slouched, then leaned over to a side. Yikes!

    Also funny, I keep a balance ball at work (that my boss is okay with) and I used to switch it out for my chair for an hour a day, it helps with posture so much! Need to get back into that habit!

    • Admin October 30, 2011 at 10:48 am #

      Trust us, we both had the same experience when we read Robin’s post! A balance ball is such a great way to engage the core. We’re also fans of the Miracle Ball Method – we both keep them at our desks. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Megan January 28, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Good reminder! I need to work on my posture!!

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  1. Guest Post on Office Pretty: A Lesson In Posture - October 24, 2011

    […] This morning I have a guest post up on one of my favorite blogs, Office Pretty. […]

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