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Ask HN: How do I fix my posture after years at the computer?
28 points by nkkollaw 97 days ago | hide | past | web | 20 comments | favorite
My posture is absolutely horrible.

I have a pretty bad postural kyphosis (hunched back) that can only get worse if I keep being at the computer the whole day.

I read some stuff about how to fix it (exercising your neck, etc.), but I don't feel like that would solve anything.

I've seen people work standing up, sitting on an exercise ball, resting their feet on a footboard, etc.

How do you guys do it? Is there something relatively easy that I can actually implement and keep doing?




Walking.

Aside from the many, many other benefits you'll get from making it a regular habit, it can really help to strengthen the muscles needed to maintain good posture (just be sure to walk with your head held up).

The beauty of walking is that it is so easy to work into your daily life. In the right environment it's a very pleasant thing to do. I often find myself heading out to get lunch and instead of stopping at that place a block away, I'll go an extra couple of blocks just because I'm enjoying the walk (usually, this has something to do with the trains of thought that walking encourages). It never feels in the slightest like 'exercising'. As a programmer, I consider walking while thinking to be one of my most productive activities.

I'm not suggesting that walking is the solution for you, but I'm confident that it will help to improve your posture if you don't already do a lot of it.


This is nice, and blew me back to some advice I think from a Bruce Lee book or interview I read or saw years ago on generally being fit.

* Get off the bus 2 stops early and walk the rest.

* Take an extra flight of stairs instead of the lift the whole way.

About generating habits, not about magic.

For the OP: Stretch, get the time to get up, be aware of your posture, stretch, do gentle things, and take regular steps, don't expect a leap.


I have started the habit during lunch to walk for at least half an hour a day with a coworker. The experience has been nothing but positive.


If your back is hunched, the solution is to stretch it in the opposite direction: the following works for many people and if you go to a doc or PT and get something like this for first line treatment you are lucky:

https://www.amazon.com/Treat-Your-Back-Robin-McKenzie/dp/095...

Look at the yoga position

https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/cobra-pose#!

Also see

http://reichandlowentherapy.org/Content/Practices/Grounding/...

The bow position is easy to do because you can just stand up and do it as opposed to lying down as you would for the Cobra and McKenzie exercises.

I also like lying back on an exercise ball to stretch.

If your neck hurts, neck exercises are likely to make your neck hurt more because your neck is already being worked too hard already, the key is to do exercises that get other body parts to put your neck in the right place, see the neck exercises in:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pain-free-pete-egoscue/1102...


This was the only solution that worked for me.


There is a youtuber[0] I've been following lately, he explains the effects from sitting too much infront of a computer and how to fix them.

I've already learnt about APT[0](Anterior Pelvic Tilt) which is a common problem that happens when sitting for prolongated periods of time.

Forward Head Posture[1]: happens when your neck is not straight above your shoulders Computer Shoulders

Computer shoulders[2]: when your shoulder are rounded(bro physique), happens when you rotate your shoulders to reach your keyboard

He've got a lot more about posture.

There also another youtuber you probably seen him before(Athlean-X)

Videos from Athlean-X about posture corrective exercises:

Perfect Posture in 5 Steps (BAD POSTURE BUSTER!)[4]

How to Fix Your Posture (NO MORE ROUNDED SHOULDERS!)[5]

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt (SIT HAPPENS!)[6]

[0]: https://www.youtube.com/user/GuerrillazenFitness

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET9IRDtQvhk

[2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjBYHvKDKn0

[3]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMv5cMiIWEk

[4]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQqgf8kB6R8

[5]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2VQ_WZ8Bto

[6]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-CrEi0ymMg


Keep your keyboard and monitor separated by height. Laptops are evil for upper back posture.

Think of how high your eyes are above your elbows. Most of us need the center of our monitors to be 2-3ft above our keyboard height for proper ergonomics. Even typical laptop risers don't cut it.

Get your eyesight checked - and get it rechecked annually, because it can change significantly in as little as six months. Nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism may both cause you to lean in closer to your monitor to read clearly, causing your back to hunch. Corrective lenses make this unnecessary (though they alone won't break you of the postural habit.)

Lower back posture is a separate issue - and that's what sit-stand desks, exercise balls, and the like try to address. That said, they also strengthen your core, which may be necessary (though not sufficient) to straighten your upper back.

You may want to consult a physical therapist for specific exercises to straighten your posture, for guidance on how to do them most safely and effectively, and for a program that ramps them up gradually as your strength increases.


I'll let others address keyboard heights and such, but here are some body-centric things that helped me:

1. If you are overweight, fix that first. 2. Do yoga 3-4 times per week. 20-min sessions are OK. Even sun salutations will help a lot. 3. Work on strengthening your posterior chain. I don't mean lifting heavy, just getting tone and activation. 4. Learn what it feels like to have good (better) posture. Work with someone (pro or not) to pose you and work with you. Or just use a mirror. 5. EASIEST: Learn simple tricks like rotating your wrists outward (thumbs forward) when standing or walking. And get your eyes up near the horizon, etc.

IME, these things can make your posture visibly better. But habit and genetics are tough to overcome. As in most things, expect modest early success but steel yourself for the long haul.


If you're at correct weight you can try some physical exercises.

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Backpain/Pages/low-back-pain-exer...


I just bought this product: https://shop.blackroll.com/collections/other-fascia-tools/pr...

It still doesn't arrive, so I'm not sure how good it is.


I thought about buying something like that, but I often work at the house and I'm not rich enough to risk my girlfriend sees me wearing that.

There's an infomercial in Italy for a product called Royal Posture, which is supposed to force you to have a good posture.

I'm looking for ways to do it without having to wear something, though.


There are very similar products on AMZ (USA) for $15-$30 USD.


I'd personally suggest the Molding mobility routine to you as something to do every day. Works wonders for the back.

Here, have a look https://phrakture.github.io/molding-mobility.html



Switching to a sit-stand desk was life changing for me.


No it wasn't trying. I use that with an ergonomic keyboard tray that moved under the desk. I try to stand up as much as i can and also adjust the height so that i don't bend.

In my experience, the cost was week worth it.


So, I assume it doesn't get tiring..?

Did you have a hunched back and did it improve..?


I did not have a hunched back (that I'm aware of), so my comment may not help you, but I found that a standing desk was more comfortable, and forces me to have a better posture more often than sitting did. I still sometimes lean over to peer at things, but I can no longer slouch back in my chair while coding.

Standing sounds like it would be tiring, but strangely it's never bothered me -- probably because I can change my stance, balance, or even move side-to-side while I'm working (and indeed, did so while typing this). I did not expect to like it as much as I do, but I've been using one for five years now and have few complaints.

edit: The key for me is that my monitor(s) are at eye level, so I don't need to look down. (Laptop screen is an exception, though, and is the main contributor to the discomfort I sometimes feel.)


I'll try it!


try yoga to gain flexibility. your body will open up leading to a good body posture. you too have to try sitting in correct way




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