December 20, 2014
Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative is credited with coining the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking” to draw attention to the health problems created by our sedentary lifestyles.
Unfortunately these health concerns rise if you are one of the increasing number of people whose work is done on computers. (Census Bureau data notes that 49% of working adults used a computer at work in 1997; by 2003, this number had grown to 56%, and is even higher today.)
Evidence is growing that computer users are at increased risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (especially those involving the upper extremity), resulting in health problems for the workforce and financial/productivity losses for employers. Blame it on bad posture.
It is not likely that people at work will be mindful of their posture during their activities — especially with the increase in prolonged sitting from computer use, gaming, TV, texting, driving, air travel, etc. which can create excessive stress on various parts of the body.
But what if there was a simple solution for computer workers and the organizations that employ them? What if there was even a way to increase productivity by 13% while reducing worker fatigue by 29%?
No, there’s not an app for that – but there is a shirt.
Alignmed’s Posture Shirt is the easiest answer I’ve found. Just put it on. It does all the rest with it’s sewn in neuro-bands that provide controlled resistance and create a form of passive therapy to fix poor posture. The products have been FDA registered, granted prescription approval and vetted with research and over 80,000 users to date.
In one study, done in conjunction with USC’s Keck School of Medicine, 96 municipal workers were monitor to gauge the effects of wearing a Posture Shirt on musculoskeletal wellness and health in the computer workplace.
After 4-weeks of wearing the garment, there was a significant difference in forward shoulder posture, forward head posture, thoracic kyphosis, and grip strength. In addition, general fatigue and muscular fatigue decreased by 21% and 29%, respectively, and energy level and productivity increased by 20% and 13%, respectively.
A recent Fox TV segment talks about how adjusting your posture by wearing the shirt helps prevent injury and even treat some existing injuries. Dr. Joanne Halbrecht of the Boulder Institute for Sports Medicine says, “It brings your neck into a better position … and changes your center of gravity to a more normal center of gravity so it relieves neck back and shoulder pain.”
I’m a posture shirt convert. As an author and blogger, I work at my computer for hours each day, and as an international speaker, I take airplane rides that are longer than I care to think about. To combat fatigue and to improve my own well-being, I try to remember to take breaks during the day where I stretch or do a light workout. I remind myself to get up and walk the aisle of whatever plane I’m on. And I always – always! – use my posture shirt when I know I’ll be sitting for extended periods of time. I’m not sure if I’m 13% more productive when wearing the garment, but I do know that I have less jet lag when traveling and more energy during a long day in my home office.
Carol Kinsey Goman is a keynote speaker and author of The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - or Hurt How You Lead.
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