Read on here: (i) What is Correct Posture? & (ii) Tips to maintain correct sitting position to achieve good posture, healthy spine and back.
What is Correct Posture?
Correct posture means that the key parts your body are properly aligned and supported by the right amount of muscle tension.
What Are The Benefits Of Correct Sitting Position?
Correct Sitting Posture helps to:
- Reduce stress on your body, whether resting, moving or exercising
- Reduce wear & tear of the muscles, ligaments and joints
- Maintain proper balance when moving or exercising
- Reduce the risk of overuse conditions and muscle strain
- Improve spine & Back health
Sitting with the right posture not only helps improve your physical health, but also makes you feel more confident.
A majority of the people spend most of their day sitting down, as they have to sit while commuting, working in an office or studying, and even when relaxing at home. Prolonged sittings can result in to many adverse health conditions, including poor posture and bad back health.
How You Can Achieve Correct Sitting Position?
The best sitting position depends on your height, the chair you are using, and the activity that you are performing while sitting.
To improve your posture and achieve best sitting position, follow these tips/guidelines:
(i) Sit up straight. Maintain your head in a neutral position by keeping the ears directly over your relaxed shoulders. This posture will keep your head stay balanced on your cervical spine, thereby minimizing strain on your neck.
(ii) Keep your feet flat on the floor to reduce strain on your hips & spine. If your feet can’t reach the floor comfortably, consider using a footrest.
(iii) Position your knees at about the same level or slightly lower than the hips.
(iv) Maintain a small gap between the back of your knees and the chair.
(v) Maintain your ankles in front of the knees
(vi) Have your arms rest comfortably at your sides, creating L-shape in the arms at about 90 degrees angle – maintain your wrists straight, not bent. Use chairs with armrests.
(vii) Try to maintain the forearms & knees parallel to the floor.
(viii) Avoid crossing your knees or ankles.
(ix) Use a chair that works best for you and provides lower back support. Keep your back against the chair. If there is some gap & your back does not meet the chair comfortably, use a cushion or backrest – particularly in the low back region.
(x) Take a short break of 2-5 minutes & move around, once or twice every hour. Even when you are using good posture, sitting for long/extended periods of time is not good for your body.
(xi) Use a headset for long calls.
Tips For Correct Sitting Posture At Computer
If you need to sit for prolonged periods of time at a desk because of your work or schooling, you should take extra precautions to ensure that you maintain a healthy spine and back.
Here are the guidelines to improve your sitting posture when you are working at a computer for extended periods:
(i) Keep the monitor at arm’s length (so that you don’t need to lean forward) and no more than about 2 inches above the natural line of sight.
(ii) Customize your workspaces such as having backrests, footrests and wrist pads.
(iii) Consider using a standing desk so as to alternate between sitting and standing.
(iv) Use an ergonomic chair or a yoga ball.
(v) Use a keyboard and mouse type that are comfortable for you.
(vi) Position the keyboard and mouse close together to minimize movements.
(vii) Getting up and moving around every half hour for about 3-5 minutes.
When you are sitting for long time, your body tends to astray from the correct posture. So keep in mind to do a mental check every ten to 15 minutes to see whether the posture has altered and then adjust your body back to the correct position.
Avoid These Sitting Positions
Any sitting position that misuse or overuse the muscles, ligaments, or tendons can negatively impact posture. Overtime such positions can lead to bad posture and poor back & spine health.
The following sitting positions are worse than others because of overworking or misusing postural tissues
(i) Sitting slumped to one side with your spine bent
(ii) Keeping your knees or ankles crossed
(iii) Dangling the feet or not properly supporting them
(iv) Sitting in one position for a long time
(v) Straining the neck for extended periods while looking at the computer/lap top monitor, mobile phone or a document
(vi) Sitting in a position that does not properly support your back, particularly the lower back
(vii) Sitting for prolonged periods without taking a break
Other Important Ways To Improve Posture
Practicing good sitting habits is only one way to help improve posture and back health.
Every type of postural position and movement that the body makes involves or impacts the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that help support posture. Some lifestyle factors that may not seem directly related to posture are in fact crucial to overall postural health.
Everyday Guidelines For A Good Posture, Healthy Spine And Back
(i) Exercise for at least thirty minutes – 3 times per week, working on a mix of stretching, strengthening, and aerobic activities
(ii) Use a hands-free device for long calls
(iii) Sit up straight and look directly forward while reading mobile screens or monitors
(iv) Lift objects by bending the legs rather than using the back, especially the heavy objects
(iv) Keep heavy objects close to your body while carrying or lifting them
(v) Adjust the seat while driving to support your back to avoid straining
(vi) Place lower back support cushions on seats such as car seats, so as to reduce strain on the lower back
(vii) Wearing supportive & comfortable or orthopedic shoes when standing for extended periods of time
(viii) Walk with a straight spine and remember to avoid leaning or slumping
(ix) Swing the arms briskly not only when jogging, or running, but also while walking
If you have poor posture, you can correct it with awareness, commitment and time. It may take months to see significant improvement from working on your posture. Once you have improved your posture, you will need to work at maintaining it. So, keep reminding yourself often to spot unhealthy posture positions and correct them.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. 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!”