Whether you’re taking a long road trip or just clocking in your usual 9 to 5 at the office, sitting correctly is important. After all, everyone’s experienced the soreness, aches, or even pains of settling into a bad position.
Especially for employees who spend long hours at their desks, improving your daily sitting posture can really influence your health in the long term. Even if you’ve had no troubles thus far or can just shrug off that lower back pain, years of sitting incorrectly can eventually turn into debilitating conditions.
To get started, here some basics of good sitting posture to keep in mind.
It’s Not Just Slouching
While extremes like slouching, slumping, or hunching over your desk are definitely not good sitting postures, the way the majority of people sit is still far from ideal. Specifically, even common sitting positions, like crossing your legs, can lead to problems over time.
Unfortunately, good posture is not as simple as “sitting up straight” either. While not looking like a hunchback is a great start, proper posture involves whole body positioning.
Neutral Positioning is Key
Namely, when sitting correctly, your entire body should be positioned as neutrally and naturally as possible. This means that from your head to your feet, your joints and various parts are in an aligned state. Everything is balanced or supported and no one part is being bent, strained, or stressed in a potentially damaging way.
Basic guidelines to follow include the following: When sitting in a chair, your lower back and spine should be settled into a natural arch. Your back should rest flat against a supportive chair back or lumbar support. Your knees should be positioned level to or slightly lower than your hips and be only an inch or two off the lip of the seat.
When sitting and typing, your shoulders should be relaxed, upper arms parallel to the spine, elbows at a right angle, and feet flat on the ground (or on a footrest if necessary).
Workplace Setup Plays a Part
While a lot of bad sitting posture comes from human habits, how your office space is set up can exasperate the situation. For example, a desk that is too short can encourage you to hunch forward , while an uncomfortable chair might contribute to your daily back pain.
To address, make sure to fix common workplace problem areas by making small adjustments and investing in better equipment, like an ergonomic chair, when needed.
Remember to Move
Last, but certainly not least, remember to take breaks and to get up and stretch. Doctors suggest doing this at least every half hour, but whenever possible, don’t pass up on the chance to get your body moving. After all, staying in one static position for too long, even if it’s with good sitting posture, can slow down your circulation and put strain on your body.
Also, whether or not you are physically active in your free time, try making the most of your work breaks by doing some easy office exercises.