Modern life has us strapped to chairs for eight hours a day or more. This is bad news for our backs!
Poor sitting posture can lead to all sorts of problems, from neck and shoulder pain to headaches. On top of that, it’s not just your back that suffers. Poor posture can also cause problems with your digestion, breathing, and overall circulation (1).
While we may not be able to avoid sitting altogether, there are some things we can do to improve our posture and minimize the negative effects of all that sitting.
Let’s find out some tips for proper sitting posture.
Tips For Proper Sitting Posture
Tip 1: Back
Your back is meant to be straight, not rounded. Sit up tall and tuck your pelvis under so that your lower back is in its natural arch. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will get easier with time.
Tip 2: Shoulders
Your shoulders should be down and relaxed, not hunched up around your ears. They also shouldn’t be pulled forward. Imagine there is a string attached to the back of your head, and someone is gently pulling it upward.
Tip 3: Neck
Your neck should be in line with your spine, not tilted up or down. Keep your chin level, and don’t strain your neck by looking up or down for long periods.
Correct neck positioning has a lot to do with where your screen is positioned. If you’re looking down at your laptop or up at your monitor, your neck is in an unnatural position. Ideally, your screen should be at eye level to minimize neck strain.
Tip 4: Arms
Your arms should be close to your body with your elbows at about a 90-degree angle. If you’re typing, your wrists should be in a neutral position, not bent up or down.
Tip 5: Legs
Your legs should be parallel to the ground, with your knees at about a 90-degree angle. If you can, avoid crossing your legs. If you must cross your legs, make sure you’re not doing it for long periods.
You may also want to invest in a footrest to keep your feet from dangling. This can help improve circulation and prevent fatigue.
Tip 6: Screen
As we mentioned before, your screen should be at eye level to avoid neck strain. But that’s not the only thing you need to consider.
The distance between you and your screen is also important. You should be close enough to see the screen clearly, but not so close that you’re straining your eyes.
Tip 7: Chair
Your chair should provide support for your back and allow your feet to rest flat on the floor. If it doesn’t, you may want to consider investing in a new one.
Additionally, your chair should be adjustable so that you can find the perfect position for proper posture.
Tip 8: Take Breaks
It’s important to take breaks throughout the day to move your body and give your muscles a chance to stretch. Set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move every 30 minutes or so. Even a quick walk around the office will do wonders for your posture.
Stretching while on breaks can also help improve your posture. Try some simple neck and shoulder stretches to relieve tension.
Some stretches for each part of your body are:
- Neck: Slowly turn your head to the right, then to the left.
- Shoulders: Raise your shoulders up to your ears, then release them down.
- Upper back: Clasp your hands together and reach them overhead.
- Lower back: Place your hands on your hips and arch your back.
- Hips: Place your right hand on your left knee and pull it toward your chest. Repeat with the other side.
- Legs: Stand up and swing one leg forward and backward, then repeat with the other leg.
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What Are The Benefits Of Good Posture?
Good posture has the following benefits for your:
Your back is one of the beneficiaries of good sitting posture. When you sit properly, the muscles and ligaments in your back are able to relax. This alleviates tension and pain in the lower back (6).
Additionally, good posture helps keep your spine in alignment, which can prevent herniated discs and other problems (6).
Good posture also takes the pressure off of your joints, specifically your knees, hips, wrists, and shoulders. When you sit properly, your joints are aligned in their natural position. This helps prevent wear and tear on the joints, as well as pain and inflammation (6).
Believe it or not, proper posture can also help with digestion. When you sit up straight, it allows your digestive system to work properly. Slouching, on the other hand, can cause indigestion and other problems (1).
If you spend a lot of time looking at screens, good posture can help prevent eye strain. When you sit properly, your eyes are in the correct position relative to your screen. This helps reduce fatigue and strain on the eyes (4).
When you sit up straight, it allows your lungs to expand fully. This helps improve your breathing and can also help prevent respiratory problems (2).
Poor Sitting Positions To Avoid
Any position that causes misuse or overexertion of your spine is considered bad posture.
This includes (3):
Slouching means that your back is curved and your shoulders are rounded. This position puts strain on your spine and can lead to pain.
Leaning forward while sitting can also put a strain on your spine. This is especially true if you’re leaning forward to look at a screen.
Crossing Your Legs
Crossing your legs may seem like a comfortable position, but it can actually put a strain on your spine and can cause pain.
Dangling Your Legs
Dangling your legs off of a chair or couch can also lead to pain. This is because it puts strain on your lower back and knees.
Sitting For An Extended Period Of Time
Sitting for long periods is bad for your posture. This is because it can cause your muscles to become weak and tight. It’s important to take breaks throughout the day to move your body and stretch your muscles.
Not Supporting Your Back
If you’re sitting in a chair, be sure to use lumbar support. This is a small pillow or cushion that you place on the lower part of your back. This helps keep your spine in alignment and can prevent pain.
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Tips For Customizing Your Workspace
Here are some tips for customizing your workspace to support good posture:
If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, it’s important to have an ergonomic chair. This type of chair is designed to support your back and reduce strain on your spine.
An adjustable desk can also help support good posture. This type of desk allows you to adjust the height, so you can find a position that’s comfortable for you.
If your feet don’t touch the floor when you’re sitting, it can cause pain in your legs and back. A footrest can help alleviate this pain by raising your feet up to a comfortable level.
If you use a computer, it’s important to have your monitor at the correct height. A monitor stand can help you adjust the height of your screen so that it is in line with your eyes.
A keyboard tray can also help reduce strain on your wrists and shoulders. This type of tray allows you to adjust the position of your keyboard, so you don’t have to reach forward to type.
If you take long calls or dictate for long periods, it’s important to use a headset. This will help reduce strain on your neck and shoulders.
If you have the option, a standing desk can be a great way to reduce pain and improve your posture. This type of desk allows you to work while standing, which can help reduce strain on your spine.
Be careful not to overdo it, though. If you stand for too long, it can lead to pain in your feet and legs.
Proper posture is important for overall health. It can help reduce pain, improve circulation, and prevent respiratory problems. To maintain good posture, be sure to sit up straight with your shoulders back and your feet flat on the floor.
You should also take breaks throughout the day to move your body and stretch your muscles.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 3 surprising risks of poor posture (2021, harvard.edu)
- 7 Benefits of Improved Posture at Work + Exercises to Help (2020, usa.edu)
- Effective Assessments of a Short-Duration Poor Posture on Upper Limb Muscle Fatigue Before Physical Exercise (2020, frontiersin.org)
- Effectiveness of a participatory eye care program in reducing eye strain among staff computer users in Thailand (2017, nih.gov)
- Postural effects on cerebral blood flow and autoregulation (2017, nih.gov)
- The Power of Good Posture (n.d., rush.edu)