As our lives become busier, we can become more sedentary. As more time is spent at our desk, we must become more aware of our sitting posture. Good posture while sitting is essential in order to avoid strain on the muscles and ligaments. It can help to alleviate problems like back and neck pain, headaches, and general fatigue, which are becoming more common.
- Will keep your joints and bones in correct alignment, which ensures muscles are properly used.
- Can prevent backache, muscular pain and strain injuries.
- Helps reduce the stress on those ligaments around the spine.
- Can slow down and decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces which can sometimes lead to arthritis.
- Improves appearance.
While most people are aware of the correct standing posture, they don’t realise that posture while sitting is just as important!
To encourage correct sitting posture, look at your chair and desk:
- Adjust your seat so your feet are flat on the ground.
- Check the position of arm rests, shoulders should be in a relaxed position.
- Pull your keyboard close to your body and centre the keys. Tilt if necessary.
- Adjust your keyboard height. Elbows should be slightly open and shoulders relaxed. Hands and wrists should be straight. Wrist rests can be helpful.
- Position your monitor so that your neck is in a neutral, relaxed position. The top of the monitor should be 2 – 3 inches above eye level.
Now the equipment is ready, start training your body to maintain a ‘good posture’ sitting position:
- Sit up with your back straight.
- Shoulders should be back, but relaxed.
- Your buttocks should touch the back of your seat.
- Body weight should be distributed evenly over both hips.
- Feet should be flat on the ground, and keep your knees that bit higher than your hips. A foot stool may be useful to aid this.
- Try to keep your head, the heaviest part of your body, centred and not tilted to one side.
- Every 20 – 30 minutes take time to stretch.
- Don’t sit in the same position for too long without taking a quick break or stretch.
- Walk to the water cooler at least every hour. Staying hydrated helps your muscles to maintain correct posture.
- All three normal back curves should be present when sitting correctly – a lumber support may be used to help maintain this.
After sitting correctly for an hour, set a reminder to take a break! You need to stand up without straining any muscles which have been dormant for the last 60 minutes:
- Slide to the front of your seat
- Push up to a standing position by extending and straightening your legs.
- Avoid bending forward at the waist as you stand.
- When fully erect, stretch your back, arms and legs.
- Move around for at least 2 minutes before resuming correct sitting posture again.
Bad posture can be the result of bad habits. Try these tips when sitting at your desk every day, and soon good sitting posture will be something that will come more naturally to you!!