Since we live in a digital world, many of us are sitting for long hours, whether at school, at work, or home. All these prolonged sitting can be dangerous to the body without good sitting posture.
But, maintaining a good posture is probably the most difficult thing to do when working from a chair. We’re either slouching or protruding our heads or in some other position that could tell on our health over time.
When considering the effects of prolonged sitting such as back pain, neck pain, muscle stiffness, neurological problems, and decreased work performance, it’s easy to realize the importance of sitting properly.
Of course, we can always use an ergonomic chair and desk to facilitate good sitting posture and productivity. But, when that is not an immediate option, you need to know how to sit correctly.
So, whether you’re working from a desk or without a desk, this is how to have a good posture when sitting.
Read Also: 9 Best Ergonomic Chairs for Studying Long Hours
How to Have a Good Posture When Sitting at a Desk
1. Provide Lumbar Support
The best way to ensure that you have good lumbar support is to invest in an ergonomic desk chair like the SIHOO ergonomic office chair. These chairs are specially designed to ease the strain on your spine and bones by offering adequate lumber support and putting you in the right sitting posture.
Since most ergonomic chairs are expensive, you may not want to purchase one right away. But, there are alternative options you can try if you don’t own an ergonomic desk chair. Get a cushion or a small pillow and after you’re seated, place it between your lower back and the chair’s backrest. This should do the trick.
Otherwise, you could get yourself a specialized lumbar pillow for desk chairs instead of a new chair. These pillows offer all the perks of lumbar support without having to buy a whole chair. One such that comes highly recommended is SAMSONITE Lumbar Support Pillow. You can get it for a little over $20 on the Amazon store and save yourself a lot more money.
2. Keep Feet Flat on the Floor
Your feet are important for maintaining a good sitting posture. If you’re sitting for hours at a stretch, it’s important to keep your spine straight all through. This feat is difficult to achieve if your feet aren’t flat on the floor.
Crossing your legs, wearing heels, or having only your toes pressing against the floor whilst sitting puts tension on your hip, pelvis, and back muscles, and also gets in the way of blood flow. So, it is important to spread out the weight of your body equally across your hips when you’re seated to avoid any muscle strains.
What you should do is ensure that your knees are on the same level as your hips or a little lower when you’re sitting and keep your feet flat on the floor. Take off your heels if you’re wearing any. If your feet are not touching the floor, make use of an ergonomic footrest. You might want to consider the Eureka Ergonomic Tilt Adjustable Footrest when shopping for one.
3. Keep the Computer Monitor at Arm’s Length and Eye Level
The best position for your computer monitor is at arm’s length and eye level. If your computer monitor is positioned too close to your face, too high, or too low, you’ll have to spend a lot of time looking up or down, which will cause you to strain your neck and eyes excessively.
Such strains may lead to headaches, and neck sprains, and even put you at long-term risks of conditions such as cervical disk herniation.
To avoid such risks, you should always ensure your computer monitor is directly facing you and positioned at arm’s length, so it isn’t too close to your eyes. You should also always ensure that the top of your monitor is at max 2 inches above your eye level.
An adjustable computer desk can be handy when you need to adjust the height of your monitor. But, if you don’t already have one, you could opt for a monitor desk stand instead. These are largely more affordable than an adjustable desk. WALI Single Monitor Stand is a great choice to consider, and it comes fully adjustable.
4. Position Your Arms at 90 Degrees and Desk Level
Both arms should be positioned at 90 degrees and the same level as your desk so that your wrists are resting conveniently on the desk. Your keyboard and mouse should also be placed at a right distance from your body such that it doesn’t require you to stretch your arms to reach for them.
Positioning your arms, keyboard, and mouse this way ensures that when you type, you do not place strains on the rest of your arm and shoulder muscles by continuously stretching to use your keyboard and mouse.
Making use of a chair with adjustable armrests like the Amazon Basics Padded Office Desk Chair with Armrests is one of the ways you can achieve this posture.
Also, remember not to place your keyboard exactly on the edge of your desk. Make sure you leave a little room to rest your wrist while you type to avoid tension on your wrist.
Read Also: Best Living Room Chair for Back Pain
How to Have a Good Posture When Sitting Without a Desk
1. Let Your Back Make an S Shape
If when you’re sitting and the shape of your back looks like an S, then, you’re sitting in the right posture. If the shape your back makes looks like a C, then you’re sitting in the wrong posture. The C shape usually happens when you slouch, and slouching puts tension on the lower back, which could lead to back pain.
To ensure that you achieve the S shape, next time when you sit, make sure that you push your buttocks in the back of the chair and keep your back upright. You can place a cushion in between your lower back and the backrest to provide lumbar support and comfort. The cushion will also help you to maintain this sitting posture.
2. Use a Chair with Armrests
As mentioned earlier, your arms need to be in the proper position, which is at 90 degrees. And, to achieve this, you need a chair with armrests. Preferably, adjustable ones, but it should do fine if your armrests are static.
Sitting on a chair with armrests will help you to keep your arms at the right angle for proper sitting posture.
3. Avoid Tilting Your Head Forward
This is a subconscious act that many of us are guilty of. Most of us tend to bend our heads toward our screens when working on a computer or a phone. You should be conscious of your head movement at all times when working from a device. Try looking down at your screen with your eyes instead of your neck.
4. Do Not Sit on the Bed
Beds do not facilitate good sitting posture, especially if you’ll be sitting for long. If you work from home, you should avoid the bed completely so that you don’t stress your lumbar area.
But, if you must sit on the bed, then you should make use of a bed table to avoid putting the weight of your laptop on your thighs. A bed table will also save you the stress of looking down at your screen which could be bad for your neck. Another option is to use a laptop stand.
5. Do Not Cross Your Legs
If you’re fond of crossing your legs whenever you’re sitting on a chair, you should know that it isn’t a good posture for prolonged sitting. You are more likely to slouch when your legs are crossed, and we have previously established that slouching is not good for your back.
6. Take Frequent Breaks
Because the human body wasn’t built to stay in one place for long, sitting for too long sometimes leads to muscle weakness and blood flow reduction. This is why you should take breaks as often as possible to exercise.
You can take short breaks at least every hour and use the time to stretch your arms and legs. You can do little exercises like chest stretch, shoulder shrugs, and squats, to relieve tension in your muscles.
Why You Should Have a Good Posture When Sitting
It’s true what they say that old habits die hard. Improper sitting posture is a habit that many of us find hard to quit, but perhaps knowing what you stand to benefit from a good posture will help you to sit correctly henceforth.
There are many reasons why you should have a good sitting posture and below are some of them:
- It keeps your spine in its proper position
- It prevents fatigue of the muscles
- It prevents strains, sprains, and other injuries that come with overuse of the spinal ligament
- It facilitates better muscle use by keeping your bones and joints properly aligned
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How do I know if I have good sitting posture?
A: Good sitting posture involves keeping your back straight, feet flat on the ground, knees and hips at the same level, and arms at a 90-degree angle. Your computer screen should be at arm’s length and eye level. If you’re unsure if you have good posture, try to follow these guidelines and adjust your body as needed.
Q: Why is it important to have good sitting posture?
A: Good sitting posture helps keep your spine in its proper position, prevents fatigue of the muscles, and prevents strains, sprains, and other injuries that can come with prolonged sitting. It also facilitates better muscle use by keeping your bones and joints properly aligned.
Q: How can I maintain good posture when sitting for long hours?
A: There are several things you can do to maintain good posture while sitting for long hours. These include using an ergonomic chair with lumbar support, keeping your feet flat on the floor, positioning your monitor at arm’s length and eye level, keeping your arms at a 90-degree angle, avoiding tilting your head forward, and taking frequent breaks to stretch and exercise.
Q: Do I need to invest in an ergonomic chair to have good posture?
A: While an ergonomic chair can be helpful in maintaining good posture, there are alternative options such as using a cushion or pillow for lumbar support, using a footrest if your feet don’t touch the floor, and adjusting your monitor and desk height to ensure proper alignment.
Q: Can I still have good posture even if I don’t have a desk to work on?
A: Yes, you can still maintain good posture even if you don’t have a desk to work on. You can use a chair with armrests to keep your arms at the proper angle, sit with your back in an S-shape, avoid crossing your legs, and take frequent breaks to stretch and exercise.
Q: How often should I take breaks when sitting for long hours?
A: It’s recommended to take short breaks at least every hour to stretch and exercise. Use this time to do exercises such as chest stretches, shoulder shrugs, and squats to relieve tension in your muscles.
Q: What are the risks of poor sitting posture?
A: Poor sitting posture can lead to a number of health issues such as back pain, neck pain, muscle stiffness, neurological problems, and decreased work performance. Over time, it can also increase your risk of conditions such as cervical disk herniation.