10 Tips for Optimal Sitting Posture
Ever since the digital age, the typical office workplace consisted of many workers spending more than 50% of their day in a seated position.
Mankind was built to move but now we are finding ourselves more and more in a stationary position limiting our physical activity levels and sitting down for longer than necessary.
To top it all off, even as we sit all day we are doing even more harm to our bodies since most people have poor posture while doing it. This in turn causes neck pain and back pain, muscle stiffness in the body, and lower mobility, and that’s just the start.
All of these ailments and more are reasons why it is vital to keep a proper sitting posture to promote a healthy back, spine and life.
Good posture is not only restricted to sitting down, but also when you walk, stand, or lie down. Positions that place the least amount of pressure or stain on any supporting muscles of your body are all considered good posture.
Keeping proper posture in your day to day life, in any setting has many benefits to anyone. Some examples are:
- Efficient use of muscles
- Reduces unnecessary wear and tear on joints
- Prevents muscle fatigue
- Improves self-esteem by contributing to good appearance
As the majority of adults work in front of computer desks, lets show 10 tips on how to achieve proper sitting posture.
1. Both feet flat on the ground:
Crossing your legs or resting part of your feet on something, or even just putting your toes on the floor puts the most stress on your body as this affects your supportive muscles in your back, pelvis and hips. It can also interfere with proper blood flow in the lower part of your body. Crossing your legs also causes imbalance in your pelvis causing you to lean more to one side. If you cannot lower your office chair to touch the floor or you cannot adjust the desk height, consider using a foot stool or elevated platform to help you achieve this. That is one of the main reasons why we started this company, giving office workers more options when it comes to ergonomics when adjusting their Electric Standing Desks.
2. Sit balanced between your hips:
It is common to want to lean to one side as prolonged sitting can cause fatigue but in doing so this causes your spine to curve which then can cause strain, scoliosis or even herniated discs. With your feet flat on the ground sit so your weight is evenly applied to your hips.
3. 90 degrees hips and knees:
Keep your knees parallel and almost even to your hips which will make it easier to keep a neutral spine. Avoid sitting too low where your knees are above your hips or sitting too high where your hips are above your knees. This can cause reduced blood flow to the legs and excessive stress on your back causing stiffness and pain.
4. Keep your pelvis neutral and your back against the chair:
Finding the bones that are most prominent in your buttocks, also known as sitz bones, you can use these to help achieve a neutral pelvis. Slowly round your lower back and tuck your pelvis under until you feel your sitz bones flat under your hands. Now arch your lower back and tilt your pelvis forward till your sitz bones leave your hands and all your weight moves to the back of your thighs. If you feel you are a bit slouched and tilting forward with your sitz bones feeling pointy, then you have reached neutral pelvis.
5. Natural low back curve:
Your back and spine has a natural curve to it known as the lordotic curve. Without proper support of this curve the back tends to curve in the opposite direction creating a hunchback situation leaving your low back vulnerable to sprains and herniated dics. Use a rolled towel, small pillow or if your chair has an adjustable back rest, adjust it so it provides support directly to the low back curve.
6. Ears, shoulders, and hips aligned:
Stack your ears, shoulders, and hips over each other. This helps maintain the natural low back curve preventing excess stress on the spine reducing pain and lowering your chance of increased risk of injury.
7. Keep your forearms flat and parallel:
Just like your hips and knees, your elbows should be at a 90 degree angle which helps keep your forearms parallel to the floor. Your arms should be to your side and on the armrests of the chair with your forearms resting on the desk. You shouldn’t be reaching for your mouse or keyboard so adjust accordingly to maintain proper posture.
8. Adjust your computer monitor:
Your computer monitor should be between 18-24 inches from your face with the top third of the screen at eye level. Needing to constantly move your neck up, down or side to side to see the monitor allows for strain on the neck causing headaches and stiffness in the shoulder. We do recommend having an adjustable arm for your monitors, that way you can maneuver your monitor to the perfect position.
9. Watch your head:
Ensure you are not protruding your head forward falling out of alignment. For every inch forward there is an extra 10 pounds of pressure placed on your neck. Routinely check that your ears, shoulders and hips are stacked, your hip and knees are at 90 degrees, along with your elbows being by your side forearms parallel. Maintaining a conscious effort to watch your posture throughout the day will become second nature and you will find yourself in good seated posture more and more.
10. Take a break and stretch:
Once every hour for about 10 mins get up and stretch, walk around and just take a break from the desk. This will help take off pressure in your body as well as giving your eyes a rest from constantly staring at the screen. It also allows proper blood flow throughout the body. Try the following easy exercises: - while standing, rotate your hips in a circular motion - while standing push your pelvis backwards and forwards - standing inside a doorway, lift your arm till your elbow is parallel with your shoulder and your hands are above your head. Rest your arm on the side of the door and move forward to stretch your shoulders
Simple changes and being mindful of your posture in your day to day life will help with your overall health. Prolonged time in a seated position in improper positions has many bad health factors that will cause pain and more stress on the body than is wanted or needed.