Many people spend the majority of their day sitting down.
Prolonged sitting can cause a range of adverse health effects, including bad posture and back health. Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least a strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during these activities. If you sit for extended periods at a desk, you need to take extra precautions to make sure you maintain a healthy posture and back. The following tips can help improve your sitting posture;
- Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair. All 3 normal back curves should be present while sitting.
- Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely.
- Bend your knees at a right angle. Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips. (Use a foot rest or stool if necessary.) Do not cross your legs.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- At work, adjust your chair height and work station so that you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up toward you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don't twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
- When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends.
To prevent bad posture and back health avoid:
- Sitting slumped to one side with the spine bent
- Keeping the knees, ankles, or arms crossed
- Dangling or not properly supporting the feet
- Sitting for a long time in one position
- Straining the neck for long periods while looking at a monitor, telephone screen, or document
- Sitting in a position that does not fully support the back, especially the lower back
- Sitting for an extended period without taking a break.
Everyday tips for a healthy posture and back include:
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes three times a week, focusing on a mix of stretching, strengthening, and aerobic activities
- Trying not to stay in any one position for too long, changing position or activity every hour
- Using a hands-free device for long calls
- Keeping any screens at eye or chest level when reading to reduce neck and upper back strain
- Sitting up straight and looking directly forward when reading mobile screens or monitors
- Lifting heavy objects by bending the legs rather than using the back
- Keeping heavy loads close to the body when lifting or carrying them
- Adjusting the seat when driving to support the back without straining and to allow the knees to bend
- Wearing comfortable, supportive, or orthopedic shoes when standing for long periods of time
- Walking with a straight spine and trying to avoid slumping or leaning
- Swinging the arms briskly and evenly when walking, jogging, or running
- Engaging in activities when away from the computer by doing squats, lunges, jumping jacks, shoulder shrugs, and pushups