Improved Productivity, Energy, and Mood by Improving Your Posture
“Sit up straight.” You have heard this before. Most people are aware of posture as it relates to “bad” posture and aesthetics, but did you know that repetitive poor posture, especially in the seated position, can begin to create changes in the way that the brain functions and therefore decrease productivity, decrease energy levels, and effect your mood? It is possible to improve your work productivity, energy levels, AND have a more positive outlook and attitude simply by an increased awareness and small positive changes to our posture.
Posture is important no matter what you do. Research has demonstrated that poor postural position in the work place is usually further supported by a sedentary seated social lifestyle outside of the office. (1) Negative adaptations can cause problems like a structural shift. These negative changes show up when muscles shorten and as they do they get stronger and lengthened muscles weaken. This physical adaptation is called reciprocal inhibition (2) and can creates massive structural shifts like Anterior Head Syndrome (AHS); rounded shoulders, and an increased low back curvature. And research is showing us just how significant the link is between a simple forward shifting of the head, AHS, and an increase in shoulder, neck and headache pain. (3) More importantly, the experience of chronic pain actually changes the way the brain works. (4) Pain is an event that must be processed in the brain. A neuronal network is created between motor (nerves that control muscle movement), sensory, and pain pathways in the brain that help create the conscious experience of pain. (5) The experience of pain significantly decreases productivity by decreasing the capacity to utilize full cognitive capability because of the distractive nature of pain and it also changes the chemical make-up in the brain and prevents the nervous system from performing at optimal physiological function. (4)
Absence of pain or tension does NOT mean you are healthy. Pushing BEYOND pain is not part of the solution. The body is not designed to endure prolonged repetitive physical, mental, or emotional stress. Poor posture or any prolonged sitting contributes to a decrease in our optimal neurological function. We can change this through an awareness of our daily repetitive habits especially with those associated with our work, recreation and sleep. Stay tuned for HOW exactly to focus on improving these areas. I mean, who doesn’t want more energy, a better mood, and the potential to be more productive?
- Pynt, J, MG Mackey, and J Higgs. “Kyphosed Seated Postures: Extending Concepts of Postural Health Beyond the Office.” Journal Of Occupational Rehabilitation. 18.1 (2008): 35-45. Print.
- Crone C. “Reciprocal Inhibition in Man.” Neurophysiological Institute. 40.5 (1993): 571-81.
- Griegel-Morris P. et. al. “Incidence of Common Postural Abnormalities in the Cervical , Shoulder, and Thoracic Regions and Their Association With Pain in Two Age Groups of Healthy Subjects.” Physical Therapy. 72.6 (1992): 425-31. Print.
- Grachev, ID, BE Fredrickson, and AV Apkarian. “Abnormal Brain Chemistry in Chronic Back Pain: an in Vivo Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study.” Pain. 89.1 (2000): 7-18. Print.
- Hanakawa, T. “Neural Mechanisms Underlying Deafferentation Pain: a Hypothesis From a Neuroimaging Perspective.” Journal of Orthopedic Science. (2012).