An exercise to avoid slumping posture at a computer

Bad posture is so common it’s almost normal. The classic computer posture: head slumped forward, back bent, shoulders rounded… perfect recipe for back and neck pain. Here’s an exercise to reverse that slumping position that also gives your diaphragm enough room so you can take a breath properly. Not only will it give your body relief, your work colleagues won’t even notice!

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Brügger’s exercise

If you work at a desk all day it’s all too easy to slump forwards, with your shoulders rounded over the computer. Not only does this put a strain on your spine and the muscles around it, it also affects breathing because a slouched posture squashes the diaphragm, preventing us from breathing deeply. The result is we don’t take in enough oxygen. Here’s a simple exercise you can do at any time of day to reverse that slumping posture – it will give your body relief and your work colleagues won’t even notice!

This exercise is perfect if you spend hours at a computer, reversing that tendency we all have to slump and slouch. Named after a Swiss neurologist Alois Brügger who studied pain due to bad posture, it is known as the ‘relief position’ and it certainly gives relief to the back and neck, while also opening up your chest so you use your diaphragm to breathe correctly. Do it any time at your desk – your work colleagues won’t even notice!

  • Sit at the very edge of your chair, legs slightly apart and your turned slightly outwards.
  • Tilt your pelvis forward to gently arch your back, so your breastbone naturally lifts.
  • Shift your weight onto your legs and feet, relaxing your stomach muscles.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and down with your chin tucked in, making your neck longer. Imagine a piece of string is attached to the top of your head with someone pulling it upwards.
  • Let your arms relax and fully straighten your elbows. Then rotate your arms outward with your palms facing up. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat every 20-30 minutes.
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