Perfecting your posture

Re: “The health hazards of sitting” [Jan. 21], the drawing of someone slumped in a chair, succumbing to gravity and bad habits of (non) posture is . . . galling! That’s how I responded, anyway. And, oh, the many troubles that ensue, health- and productivity-wise, which are well documented and which I see all the time in my practice as a movement education specialist.

To avoid following that downward spiral, desk workers and home computer users can choose from a variety of seating options. Studies are underway at Harvard, the University of Waterloo and other research institutions to measure the benefits of a third way to work upright for prolonged periods: a dynamic perching position halfway between sitting and standing where the hips are at a 135-degree angle. Your legs are engaged, keeping you in an active, upright posture.

Underlying any sustained posture is a constellation of balancing forces around one’s center of gravity. However, good posture relies on an active relationship with both the pull of gravitational forces and the suspension of anti-gravitational forces. This is a skill that can be learned and facilitated when you have the right office configuration.

Movement is a key for workplace wellness. Taking macro-movement breaks like walking and stretching is a known quantity. Conditioning yourself to employ smart postural micro-movements, and investing in the proper tools you need to support a healthy posture can bring health and vitality back into your workday. Otherwise, that downward spiral might get you.

Ellen Barlow, Washington

What goes wrong in our bodies when we park ourselves for nearly eight hours per day? A chain of problems from head to toe.