The Importance of Having Good Posture — Andy Sto

There are many positives about being able to work anywhere you want in the world, but one of the important things that you lose is the ability to control your workspace.

If you have office space with a responsible company, or a well-established home office in a steady location, you have the luxury of setting up your workspace in the way that you want. This includes many things, but one of the essential elements is ergonomics.

With ergonomic chairs, standing desks, wrists rests, and foot pedestals, you can set up your workspace in a way that supports good posture, supple joints, and your long-term health.

When you are on the road, you don’t have this luxury. You probably find yourself hunched over a laptop because the table is too low, and getting a sore back after half an hour of sitting because your chair is too high. In frustration, maybe you move to the bed, which only makes matters worse.

Let’s take a look at why good posture is so important, and why bad posture is so detrimental, and why you can’t ignore an ergonomic work set up for “a few years” as you jump into the digital nomad lifestyle.

We’ll also share a few simple tips for protecting your posture while working and living on the road.

Why Does Good Posture Matter?

Spinal Curvature

When your spine is out of alignment, it is not able to absorb shocks in the same way. This puts you at a great risk of accidental injury when doing routine things, such as bending down to pick something up off the floor.

Back Pain

Straining and weakening of these muscles also make you prone to more serious back injuries.

Headaches

As all the muscle are connected, this can lead to tension headaches, which can make it impossible to concentrate.

Poor Sleep

This can lead to both poor quality sleep and insomnia. You can read more about what we think about the importance of sleep here.

Disrupted Digestion

It tends to slow down the digestive process causing constipation.

Lack of Motivation

Slumping tends to make us feel small, unimportant, and out of place. So staying in this position for extended periods of time can have a serious impact on our self-esteem and our mood.

It can take as little as three to six weeks for regular bad ergonomics to have a serious impact on your posture. So, no, it is not really something that you can “live with” for a few years as a digital nomad without worrying about the impact that it might have on your life.

Posture Hacks for Digital Nomads

1. Lift Up Your Screen

So, one of the best things that you can do is lift your screen up so that it is at eye level. You don’t need any special equipment for this, a stack of books or a box that is lying around in your accommodation should do the trick.

Of course, it will leave the keyboard and mousepad out of reach so…

2. Invest in a Separate Keyboard and Mousepad

If you do this for hours on end, you can develop serious repetitive strain injury. If you continue to do this, one day in the future you might find that you can’t sit in front of a keyboard all day.

This is why it is worth getting a separate keyboard and mouse for your laptop so that you can do at least the bare minimum when it comes to making your workspace ergonomic. If you are willing to pay a bit extra, you can get very compact actions that will barely take up any space in your bag at all.

If you are looking for recommendations check out the Logitech K780, which is a full size wireless keyboard with mousepad. If you want an integrated mousepad, then you might prefer the Logitech K400, though a separate mouse is ergonomically preferable.

3. Bring Your Own Lumbar Support

The most portable version of this tool are going to be inflatable, like the Therm-a-Rest lumbar support pillow. Don’t worry, it is self-inflatable, you don’t need to blow it up yourself. When packing, it folds down to about the size of a pair of socks.

4. Set an Alarm for Breaks

If you have a short break every 20–30 minutes can have an opportunity to reset your posture and limit the damage that you are doing.

These breaks are also good for your eyes, they can reduce mental fatigue and give you a brain boost to have better focus when you return to work.

The break doesn’t have to be long, just a minute or two (though you should be taking longer breaks throughout the day), and you can just do a few simple exercises to release you back, such as shoulder blade squeezes or wall slides.

5. Take Up Yoga

There are few things better for posture than yoga. It both strengthens the muscles that you use to maintain good posture (bridge/wheel is amazing for this), but it also supports mobility and flexibility, which is excellent for injury prevention.

Yoga is actually also really good for strengthening the wrists and their mobility, and since these are another problem area laptop workers, this is another reason to do the work.

We’ve talked about the benefits of yoga for digital nomads before, you can read more here.

The Verdict

Posture is another one of these things. It is something that we don’t think about all that much, and we don’t always realize when bad posture is having a seriously detrimental impact on our lives.

You have headaches for no apparent reason, you have trouble sleeping at night, your digestion is off, and you just don’t feel motivated. While these problems have many potential causes, one common and overlooked cause is bad posture.

Bad posture pushes your entire body out of alignment, so it can affect you in varied in ways without you realizing it.

Working at a desk all day in front of a computer is a major cause of bad posture. Awareness of this is growing, which is why so many companies now put a significant focus on creating ergonomic workspaces for their staff.

But when you are a digital nomad, working wherever you fund yourself, it can be very difficult to maintain good ergonomics.

Hopefully we have shared a few helpful tips to help you avoid posture problems and their related effects.

Originally published at https://andysto.com on June 30, 2021.

Digital Nomad focused in #remotework and #digitalnomadism