A Head-to-Toe Guide on How to Fix Bad Sitting Posture
Did you know that there’s a wrong way to sit in a chair? And if you sit improperly for long enough, your body might actually experience negative effects in the long run?
“Oh great,” you might be thinking. “What now?”
Hours of hunching over a computer desk or slouching into a couch can cause poor circulation, headaches, and even impaired lung function. Do you get back pain too? A study by the American Chiropractic Association says that over 50% of all working Americans experience back pain every year--so you’re not alone!
Here are 5 simple steps to improve your sitting posture to prevent body pain and improve circulation while working. Follow along our head-to-toe guide on how to fix bad sitting posture and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you in 2021.
5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Posture
1. Head up
Looking at a computer all day can be a literal pain in the neck! Keep your head up and in line with your spine, as your back can easily support the weight of your head.
“When your head juts forward at a 45-degree angle, your neck acts like a fulcrum, like a long lever lifting a heavy object. Now the muscle weight of your head and neck is the equivalent of about 45 pounds,” says Erik Peper (San Francisco State University Professor of Holistic Health). Yes, incorrect posture is as good as putting a 45-pound weight on your head!
Position your monitor at a height where you don’t have to tilt your head up or down (or use a monitor mount to move your monitor exactly where you need it!). Keep your head up!
(image courtesy of exercisesforinjuries.com)
2. Relax Your Arms
When you’re sitting at a table, drop your shoulders and make sure your arms are relaxed. This reduces the strain on your trapezius area (the muscles between your shoulder blades in your upper back).
If you’re typing, your forearms should rest lightly on the tabletop, forming a 100 to 110-degree angle with the rest of your body.
(image courtesy of ergonomictrends.com)
3. Support Your Back
Your spine has 5 main sections--from top to bottom, they are the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccyx. Together, they form a “highway” which your body uses to send nerve signals from your brain to all the other parts of your body. On top of that, poor spine health now may lead to more ailments in the future. This is why supporting your back is one of the most important parts of proper sitting posture!
Sit back in your chair and ask yourself a few questions.
- Am I comfortable?
- Is my spine relaxed in its natural curve?
- Is my lower back supported?
If your answer to one or more of these was “no,” it’s time to reassess your setup! If your back is not supported by your chair, try using a mesh support or cushion to keep your spine happy. Or upgrade to a fully-customizable ergonomic chair for maximum comfort!
(image courtesy of positivehealth.com)
4. Square Your Hips
It’s important to keep your legs side-by-side so your weight is distributed evenly across your hips (not twisting or leaning to either side). Slanted sitting can cause--you guessed it-- hip pain as a result of poor posture!
Aside from poor posture, crossing your legs or ankles can also cause a temporary spike in blood pressure, which is particularly dangerous if you already have high blood pressure.
Make sure you’re sitting so that your weight is even across your hip bones. Add a memory foam coccyx support pillow for extra comfort while you work!
(image courtesy of contourliving.com)
5. Keep Both Feet On The Ground
Alright, it’s time to put your feet down for good posture (see what we did there?). If your feet dangle just above the ground or just your toes touch the ground, that’s more tension on your leg and back muscles.
Use a footrest if your feet don’t quite touch the floor (or get one even if your feet do reach the ground--they’re a great addition to your office space!). A footrest reduces pressure on your legs and can also prevent blood clots and varicose veins.
(image courtesy of shared.com)
Time For a Final Checkup!
This diagram from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) demonstrates all the optimal angles for desk work. How’s your posture?
Ready to Give Your Body the Desk Setup it Deserves?
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