Read here to learn why posture is important for spine, back & health – simple rules & guidelines to correct, achieve & maintain good posture.
A majority of people sits long periods of time during the day. And most of them sit incorrectly, especially at a desk. This is bad for their posture, spine & back health.
Why Correct Posture Is Important?
Let’s first see why good posture matters?
(i) Sitting for prolonged hours enhances the risk for cardiovascular disease & diabetes.
(ii) Due to the continuing technology development, most of us now stay strapped to electronic devices & computers than ever before. Consequently, our health is impacted adversely.
(iii) Everyone may not be able to swap their desk job for one that offers opportunities to walk or stay physically active all day. But, we can do one thing to improve our health – that is to sit properly and maintain good posture.
How To Improve and Maintain Correct Sitting Posture?
In addition, also learn here which gadgets really are worth the money if you’re trying to protect your spine, back, bones and the joints for the future.
Support Your Back
Ergonomic chairs are meant to correctly support your body and decrease strain and friction on your bones and muscles when you sit. If you don’t have ergonomic chair, you can try various things to correct your sitting posture:
(i) If your office chair doesn’t provide a proper lumbar (lower back) support, take a small towel & roll it up. Alternatively, you can use a small pillow. Place the rolled towel or pillow between your lower back and the chair. This indigenous support device will help you maintain the right posture.
Don’t use a too large towel or pillow because it will force your spine into an uncomfortable position, which eventually will lead to back pain.
You can also consider buying a specially designed lumbar pillow. This device copycat the shape of a lumbar rest in chair, and you don’t have to buy an expensive new ergonomic chair.
Adjust Your Chair
Adjust your seat up or down until your upper legs are parallel with the floor and your knees are at the same height as your hips. Your arms too should be positioned parallel to the floor.
Your feet should rest on the floor. If they aren’t, use a footrest to elevate your feet until they are in this position.
Maintain your elbows by your sides, and extend your arms into an L-shaped bend. Arms that are extended too far out from your body could put more strain on the muscles in your arms and shoulders.
Rest Your Feet On The Floor
Adjust your sitting position so that your body weight is evenly distributed across your hips. Bend your knees at a right angle, and ensure that your knees are either at the same level as your hips or slightly below that.
Place your feet flat on the floor. If you’re wearing shoes with heels, consider removing them to be more comfortable. In case your feet can’t reach the floor, use a footrest.
Adjustable ergonomic foot rests; allow you find a height and an angle that works best for your natural posture alignment.
Avoid sitting with your legs crossed. This can decrease blood flow to your legs and cause muscle stress.
Keep Computer Monitor At Eye Level
Move the monitor directly in front of you. Extend your arm, and adjust the screen until it’s about an arm’s length away.
Next, adjust how high the monitor is. Keep the top of your computer’s monitor about no more than two inches above your eye level. Computer monitors that are too high or too low can put stress your eyes & neck.
You can use stacks of books to adjust the screen’s height. If you prefer to use something formal, you may use a monitor desk stand under the monitor.
A more versatile way is to use a freestanding monitor mount to achieve greater flexibility with adjustments. It will let you adjust the screen’s height as well as angle of the tilt.
Position The Keyboard Correctly
Straining your wrists while you type can lead to muscle fatigue and pain.
Keep the keyboard directly in front of your computer. Leave about 6 inches between the edge of your keyboard and the desk so that your wrists get proper room to rest while typing.
If your keyboard is high and you have to tilt your wrists at an uncomfortable angle to type, use a padded wrist rest. A good wrist pad will help you position your hands evenly with your keyboard.
Use The Right Mouse
Place the computer mouse on the same surface as your keyboard. It should be within easy reach. Stretching to reach mouse can result into muscle stress and fatigue.
While using mouse, your upper arm should be by your side, hand slightly below elbow and wrist straight. This will help avoid wrist strain and fits your hand’s natural shape.
Keep Frequently Used Objects Within Reach
Items you use frequently, such as a stapler, phone, or notepad, should be very close to you while you’re sitting. Stretching so as to reach items that you need frequently, can strain muscles. Repeated twists and stretches may lead to joint pain.
Use Handset If You Spend A Lot Of Time On Phone
If you spend a lot of time on a phone and typing or writing, use a speakerphone or a wireless headset. Bending your neck to cradle the phone can lead to strained muscles, pain, and even ligament damage over time.
Take Regular Breaks
Sitting for prolonged time all the day can decrease blood flow and cause muscle fatigue. To avoid that, take frequent breaks. Stand up from your desk and move around for a couple of minutes every half an hour. You can also do some shoulder shrugs & calf raises
When you take a break, stand up and walk away from your desk if you can. Get your blood flowing by doing some calf raises and shoulder shrugs. If you can, do a few neck & spine stretches 2 -3 times a day.
Many short breaks during the day are better than a few long breaks. Aim for taking a 1 to 2 minute short break about every 30 minutes. At the very least, get up & move around once every hour.
The Take Away!
Sitting most of the time all day is bad for your health. However, you can do a lot to maintain / improve your health just by taking care of posture. Investing in a couple of ergonomically designed devices and learning to sit correctly can go a long way to reduce wear and tear of your bones, joints & muscles. This will really pay off in your later years as you avoid strains, injuries and soreness.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Health Coach. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me age is just a number!”