a few months ago

how to sit with a healthy posture In The Office

Learning how to maintain a healthy sitting posture will help you to relieve pressure on your body and make back pain at the office far less likely.

How to sit with a healthy posture

Sitting down for a few hours at a time can be really tough going for your back.

And over time it can leave you in a lot of pain and discomfort.

There are 3 main reasons why this happens:

  • When you are sat down your vertebrae are compressed, which can lead to a weakening of your spinal discs.
  • Your core muscles remain inactive, which weakens them and leaves your back with less support.
  • When you sit with an unhealthy posture you put your body under lots of extra pressure and strain.

And this is a big reason why so many office workers in particular struggle with back pain.

However, if you're an office worker and can't avoid the long hours sat in your chair there's no need to despair.

As there are a few things that will help you to keep your back healthy during the working day.

And a big one is learning how to sit with a healthy posture.

How To Get Your Sitting Posture Right

Maintaining a good posture as you sit at the computer is so important because by doing so you will be taking lots of pressure off your lower back.

And it's not just good for getting rid of back pain, as it can also:

  • Improve the quality of your breathing, which helps your muscles to stay relaxed and free from tension and pain.
  • Keep your body balanced so the pressure involved with sitting is spread evenly.
  • Improve your mood and concentration making you more productive.

So it's well worth the effort to try to improve your sitting posture.

What you need to aim for is to sit in a way that positions your body into a natural, comfortable and balanced posture that maintains an S-shaped curve in your spine.

As this is the neutral position for your back and helps to reduce any strain and pressure on it.

Now there are a few different parts you need to get right to be able to achieve this and I'll take you through these now.

Just keep in mind that your body should feel relaxed in a good posture rather than tense and uncomfortable, and this will help you stay on the right track.

1. Your Sitting Angle

Slouching back or leaning forward are two common mistakes that will put your body under increasing strain.

Instead you need to sit up fairly straight (but not too straight!) keeping your spine in a more neutral position.

Aim to keep your back at an angle between 90-100 degrees with your legs at the hips as you sit.

And try to maintain a slight arch in your lower back that keeps the S-shaped curve in your spine going.

Using a chair with good lumbar support or a lumbar support cushion are both good ways to make this easier to do.

2. Your Knees & Legs

The position of your knees and how you place your feet will impact how much work your lower back has to do as you sit.

So getting this right can take away a lot of stress and tension.​

Your chair needs to be at a height where your thighs are parallel to the floor when you are sat in it.

And your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle and clearing the edge of your seat cushion by at least an inch.

Now make sure your feet are placed flat on the floor.

​This is really important as your feet help to support your body weight as you sit and they will keep your back in a neutral position when you have them on the floor like this.

So don't stretch them out or cross them​ because this will mean they can't do this and your back takes on more of the strain.

And your posture will also suffer, placing your joints and muscles under more stress.

So keep your feet on the floor!​

And if you can't reach the floor because of the height of your chair then use a foot stool or a pile of books instead.

3. Your Head, Neck, & Shoulders

Looking down or leaning forward to see your screen is only ever going to lead to pain in your neck, upper back and between your shoulder blades.

So make sure you are looking ahead at your screen rather than down at it (more on this later).

Keep your chin lifted and your shoulders relaxed and pulled back as you are doing this.

And try to keep your ears and shoulders in alignment to prevent your neck from tilting forward.

This will train you to keep your head up.​

By learning to sit tall you can maintain good spinal alignment and take a lot of the strain out of working at your computer.

4. Your Arms, Hands, & Wrists

Keeping things within proper reach and your arms supported helps to take the strain off your shoulders and upper back as you work.

So sit close to your desk and make sure things like your keyboard and mouse are close enough so you're not overreaching for them.

For the best results your elbows should be close into your body while using your computer and remain at an angle of between 90-110 degrees.

And use the armrests of your chair to rest your arms on so they remain relaxed and straight.​

This will take a lot of pressure off your shoulders.

Other Things That Will Help

Old habits can be hard to break.

And this can make improving your sitting posture difficult at first.

So, give yourself the best chance of success by doing the following.

  • Stretch regularly - staying flexible makes it easier to maintain a healthy posture.
  • Stay active - exercising regularly keeps your muscles strong, especially those that help to support your back and hold you in a healthy posture.
  • Position your screen correctly - it should be positioned centrally at a height where you can look straight ahead at it.
  • Use a monitor arm or laptop stand - this raises the height of the screen so you can look ahead at it rather than down, keeping you in alignment.
  • Adjust your seat height - your seat should be at a height that fits your desk but also allows you to keep both feet firmly on the floor.
  • Use an ergonomic chair - sitting on an ergonomic office chair that can be adjusted to fit you like a glove is great for taking the pressure off your body.
  • Make sure your desk is high enough - if your desk is too low it can't make it impossible to maintain a healthy sitting posture.
  • Your keyboard and mouse - position these so they are close enough that you don't have to stretch to use them.

Rounding Up

Learning how to sit with a healthy posture in the office can really help you to reduce back pain.

As this keeps your body balanced and relieves the pressure and strain on your lower back.

So, I hope you've found these tips helpful and can adopt some of them into your working life.

As the last thing we need when at work are nagging aches and pains in the back.

Share here!

Daniel

I'm a psychology graduate and a veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help people learn how to fight back against persistent back pain just like I have.

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