Developing a good sitting posture is a simple yet effective way to ensure proper breathing, reduce stress levels, and prevent muscle fatigue.
But maintaining a proper posture is easier said than done. We all commonly find ourselves slouching even lower at our desks as our workdays move forward.
So, if you’re asking yourself, “How should I sit at my desk for good posture?” read on. We’ve listed tips to help you sit correctly at your desk to ensure you’re not only comfortable but productive and healthy in your workplace, too!
Imagine that your body is being held by a string
One of the best ways to keep a proper desk posture is by observing this analogy: Imagine that your head and spine are being held up from the ceiling by a string. This technique may sound weird, but it actually proves to be effective.
Focus your attention on aligning your head and spine with that imaginary string, while calming down your other body parts.
People tend to tense up their muscles when attempting to observe a proper posture. And you don’t want that. So, breathe slowly while doing this technique to let your other body parts relax as well.
Adjust your chair support
Back pains are often a result of poor posture. You can prevent this from happening by providing your back ample support. To do this, you can adjust your chair’s height, tilt, and back position until your back feels comfortable.
Some chairs come with added features such as adjustable armrests and customized cushions. If these things make you feel uncomfortable or prevent you from having a good posture, you can remove them.
Place your feet flat on the ground
Your feet must be laid flat on the floor. Avoid crossing your legs as this can strain your muscles and weaken blood flow.
As a general rule of thumb: Your knees must be modestly lower than your hips. Now, if you don’t feel comfortable resting your feet flat on the ground, you can grab a footrest.
Some footrests can be adjusted, allowing you to find the perfect height and tilt for your posture alignment.
Wearing high heels can likewise strain your feet and joints. If possible, change with a comfortable pair of flat shoes while you’re at your desk.
Just wear your heels back if you’re needed in the boardroom or when the boss needs to see you.
Properly position your monitor, keyboard, and mouse
You will be required to bend your neck if your computer screen is placed too low or too high. And this can feel uncomfortable.
Here's a helpful trick: Put your monitor at arm’s length away, with the top of the monitor placed at your actual eye height. You may need a stand to do just this.
Meantime, your keyboard should be placed directly in front of your screen. It’s also best to give your wrists some room to rest while you’re typing.
A padded wrist rest may be necessary if you have a tall keyboard. Aside from providing comfort, wrist pads also evenly position your hands while you type, preventing muscle tiredness and pain.
You should also keep your mouse closer to you. Some mouse mats come with padded wrist pads too, which provide extra comfort.
You may want to consider this to prevent your wrist from bending awkwardly and to keep it straight. If you don’t need your keyboard, set it aside first and move your mouse as near to you as possible.
Make sure that your computer screen is glare-free
Computer glares affect your posture, too. How? Reflections on your screen make reading hard, so your tendency is to lean forward. So, try to keep your monitor as glare-free as possible.
If you want to know what’s causing the reflections, you can hold a mirror in front of your computer. It also helps to pull the window blinds, especially when the sun is up.
Reflections on your monitor can also cause computer eye strain, so you need to find ways to avoid those glares. If you’re wearing glasses, have your lenses protected with an anti-reflective (AR) coating.
This AR coating helps get rid of glares from the front and back surfaces of your glasses. You can also adjust your computer screen’s brightness so it’ll be easier to use.
Keep your work necessities nearby
Keep your office essentials within your reach, especially those that you frequently use. Commonly used items such as a pen, paper, phone, and stapler must be near you even when you’re in a sitting position.
Frequent stretching and twisting won’t only strain your muscles but it can cause joint pains, too.
Also, organize all the other items and documents on your desk. If your desk is spacious, make sure that your office items are arranged around your computer.
Get rid of clutter, and other unnecessary objects. To better accommodate your important documents, you can purchase file tray organizers.
Use a headset or a speakerphone if you talk over the phone for long
If you regularly speak with clients or the nature of your work requires lots of phone conversations, you may want to consider using a headset or a speakerphone.
Frequently cradling the phone between your shoulder and ear can lead to neck strain. The best way to avoid this is by limiting call hours. But if it’s totally inevitable, use the help of other devices.
Remind yourself to check your posture
All of us want to maintain a good posture, but the problem is we often forget about it. The solution: an excellent reminder. You can set an alarm on your phone or write post-it notes so you won’t forget to check your posture.
It’s up to you how frequent you want this done. You can remind yourself once a day or as frequent as every 20 minutes. By being reminded regularly, you’re on your way to developing a naturally good posture.
Have frequent short breaks
Several studies revealed that sitting for long periods can be harmful to your health. So, move around. Taking small breaks is essential to release muscle tension.
Stand for a minute or two, and do some basic stretches. You can also walk around for a couple of minutes or simply stand whenever you’re able.
Simply put, move as often as possible. It’s better for your back if you take regular short breaks than a few long ones. It allows your muscles to relax and release stiffness and tension.
Get a good massage
Massages aren’t strictly for pleasure only. Sometimes, it’s a necessity too. If you’ve always had improper posture, you may find it extra difficult to improve your posture due to the stiffening of your joints.
Back and shoulder massages help loosen up your joints so you can have a better posture.
Use a back cushion
Many people find back cushions extremely useful in improving their posture. You can purchase a back cushion and place it in your chair.
Back cushions provide lumbar and back support and help relieve middle and lower back pain, as well as lumbar pains.
Reduce the weight of the stuff you carry around
Carrying heavy items, especially when done over extended periods, may result in hunched back and shoulders. Students who regularly carry heavy books and other school items expose themselves to the risk of muscle strain.
Professionals are not exempted from this risk too as many working individuals carry their laptop and work essentials to and from work.
If carrying heavy items is unavoidable due to the work that you do, consider getting yourself a roller bag. Trolley or roller bags provide not just functionality but convenience as well.
They are also gradually becoming a common sight in this modern, fast-paced world.
Perform exercises that improve back strength
Exercise balls, yoga, pilates, and even basic stretching help strengthen your back. Engaging in these kinds of exercises can improve your posture tremendously.
Just make sure you are doing the right technique when performing these workouts, otherwise, you may end up straining your back.
Visit a chiropractor for a professional assessment
If you’ve been suffering from an extremely poor posture for quite some time already or had a history of backaches or injuries, it may be best to seek professional help.
Physical therapists and chiropractors won’t only give you an appropriate assessment but can teach you how to sit properly and observe a proper posture.
They can also give you professional advice on how to better care for your back.
Poor sitting habits such as crossing your legs or slouching lower and lower as the day drags on can cause chronic muscle pain and severe injuries. Luckily, you can prevent these things from happening by making certain lifestyle changes.
And while observing the ideal posture is rarely comfortable, this isn’t an excuse to give up on your desk posture goals.
Try to gradually introduce these lifestyle changes to your daily routine, and allow your body to adjust to a healthier posture over time.
Remember that even the smallest adjustments can be good for your posture and overall health. So, don’t hesitate to make certain changes your body will thank you for.