Focus on the Whole Team: Fix Your Posture, Fix Your Health

October 17th, 2017 | by Walt Whitfield
Focus on the Whole Team: Fix Your Posture, Fix Your Health
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Posture

In an earlier article “Improving Work-Life Balance,” I spoke about sitting well at your workstation and ergonomics. Ergonomics is about neutral posture. And much like how you dress, your posture says a lot about you. There is a reason coaches demand student-athletes dress nice on road trips. Impressions. When one has great posture, they give off a sense of confidence and control. But beyond impressions, there is your health. Here are a few tips on your posture.

Pre-Work Warm Up

You may notice before each sporting event the student-athletes warming up for the competition. It is important to get the body ready for the physical task ahead. The same goes for your job. Warming up before work helps reduce fatigue, improves muscle coordination and balance, and improves posture. Dynamic stretching like head circles or good mornings are examples of proper pre-shift stretches. Keep in mind that you want to stretch the body parts most needed for your workday.

Lift Correctly

All student-athletes hit the gym. Weights and conditioning coaches around the nation are meant to help athletes lift correctly to further their strength and skill. Within the office, posture during lifting basic office supplies is just as important. It may seem stupid to worry about lifting objects, but statistics show that improper lifting of even light items are highly dangerous. That office package is just as unsafe as any. When you lift an object, there are six common principles. Keep the load close. During the lift, maintain the lower back in the neutral inward curve. Use the legs to lift, not the back. Tighten the abdominal muscles during the lift. Lift slowly and smoothly. Avoid twisting while lifting. It is important to understand and follow these guidelines.

Travel Time

As a former collegiate athlete, I can tell you that travel is one of the hardest issues to overcome. Teams who travel long distances greatly decrease their chances of winning. Remember the long trip? The beach sounds great. But what if you had to run a 10k the next day? Not as pleasant huh! Ergonomics when traveling is all about your hips. Bring the seat up to the point you can see the road comfortably. Have the hips forward enough so you can touch the pedals without bringing your butt off the seat. Make sure everything you need to drive is within your grasp. Adjust mirrors accordingly. Driving ergonomically is about driving safety.

Ergonomics may seem like a difficult term. Very simply, it is about body position. All jobs come with risks. Recognize them. Make the proper adjustments. Educate yourself on neutral position to lower the risks.  

Walt Whitfield About Walt Whitfield
Walter Whitfield is an employee wellness consultant and founder of Lavoro Workplace Wellness where he helps businesses improve their workplace through employee wellness strategies. He has worked with corporations like Chevron, BP, and Seadrill. Walter is a former college athlete for Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns where he competed in cross country and track, winning Sunbelt conference titles in the 3k Steeplechase and 5k. He is married, has 3 kids, and loves all things New Orleans Saints and Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns.

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