Improve your posture at work

Sitting is the new smoking, so if you cannot afford a stand-up desk, you should work on your posture to ensure you avoid chronic ailments.

The founder of The Invisible Exercise, Dell-Maree Day, is a biomechanical pioneer who wants to help you tone and strengthen your body, become slimmer and reduce muscle pain by correcting your posture.

According to Day, your body has 639 muscles and 400 of these are ‘invisible muscles’ hidden away — your critical muscles. For all sorts of reasons, a lot of those muscles don’t get used much, if at all. Even when you’re exercising daily, your body is still relying on 9 or 10 larger, dominant muscles instead of drawing on the strength and stability you could be getting from all of them.

It’s like your body is a car engine running on only one cylinder. That single cylinder is doing all the work and the engine will be wasting a lot of fuel those other cylinders should be burning. And that engine is a ticking time bomb too – it may not be long before it breaks down.

These invisible muscles have a ‘memory’, and the best way to work with them is to trigger their memory. This can be done when you’re still — either at your desk, standing in a line at the bus stop or in a quiet moment. To other people, it won’t look like you’re doing much, but in fact, you are. Once you trigger their memory they resume working for you all day as a team in the correct positions.

Day has developed a series of programs available via The Invisible Exercise website. Here’s an example. To begin, move away from the back of your chair to sit on the front half of the chair. Place the feet flat on the floor directly under the knees with a fist sized space between the feet and knees.

Look straight ahead and sit as tall and relaxed as possible, especially your arms. You will now feel how the natural curves of your spine have been restored. At this point, you should be looking at the top third of your computer screen.

Staying tall and relaxed lets your body breathe in, and as the body breathes out think ‘sternum through towards your spine’. You will feel your master breathing muscle fire to flatten and narrow your waist. This is called The Invisible Breathing Technique, which is great to practice when you are sitting down. Your colleagues won’t even know what you’re doing.

Day says if you repeat this technique five to six times in a row every hour, you’ll feel your abs strengthen and your posture improve within days. If you’re interested in a stand-up desk read our article on their benefits.