Sitting Position: 12 Tips for Proper Posture

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Pexels

Proper sitting posture prevents back pain and the development of secondary complications. With minimal time and effort, you can improve your sitting position and gain significant health benefits. Learn how to do it with these 12 tips. 

Whether in the office or at your desk at home, many professionals spend a disproportionate amount of time in a seated position. 

But as many of us find out the hard way, humans are not built to thrive in a sedentary environment. Evolution has molded our bodies to respond to the physiological demands that were placed upon our hunter-gatherer ancestors. That is, among other things, to move. Sitting for extended periods of time – even in a proper sitting position – strains the lower back, puts extra pressure on your spinal discs, and builds tension in the neck and shoulders. Bad sitting posture exacerbates the situation by restricting blood flow and causing the muscles in your body to fall out of balance.

After years of spending several hours a day hunched over a desk, the alignment of your spine can become abnormal and cause all kinds of unpleasant problems. The more time you spend slouching, the more debilitated your body becomes. This triggers a vicious circle of not being able to exercise properly without pain, leading to more sitting, causing your posture and overall health to decline. 

To escape this cycle, we’ll share twelve tips to help you develop a healthier sitting position and eliminate back and neck problems before they start.  

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Correct Sitting Position: Proper Desk Posture

proper desk posture
Set up your office ergonomically to reduce strain on your body. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – freephotos)

In order to maintain proper sitting posture, you must set yourself up for success. The first thing to do is look at the orientation of your office. 

  1. Your monitor should be placed at least an arm’s length from your body. This will allow you to adopt a more relaxed and upright upper body position when working. If the monitor is too close, tension can quickly build up in the neck and shoulders.
  2. To prevent neck pain, you should also adjust the height of your monitor so that you are looking at the computer screen with your head straight or slightly tilted at a downward angle.
  3. The keyboard and mouse can also play their part in maintaining an ergonomic sitting position: for proper desk posture, it is best to position them so that your elbows are always at the same level when working. This ensures that you do not permanently overload your upper body on one side.
  4. Adjust your desk and chair to your individual height. This automatically makes you more relaxed and less prone to cramping.

Read on: Desk Organization Ideas: Minimalist Tricks for Your (Home) Office

Correct Sitting Posture

proper sitting posture
Proper sitting posture will increase circulation and help keep your spine supported. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Steve DiMatteo)
  1. Now that you have created the optimal conditions for a relaxed sitting position at work, you can devote yourself to aligning your body. Place your feet firmly on the floor, about parallel to each other. Keep your feet flat on the floor to avoid putting more strain on one side of your body and causing your back muscles to become imbalanced. 
  2. If you are sitting correctly, your pelvis should be slightly tilted to relieve the strain on your back muscles and intervertebral discs. If you find this uncomfortable, trying using a seat cushion.
  3. Avoid sitting in one position all day. Make sure that you move your body even when sitting. For example, you can tap your feet on the floor from time to time, stretch your arms upwards and pull your stretched arms to the right and left.
  4. To relax your spine and back muscles, you can lean far back in your desk chair at regular intervals so that your upper body is as far away from your legs as possible. Then linger briefly in this relaxed position.

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Keep moving!

correct sitting posture
Sitting for too long is always bad for your body. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Skeeze)

Rule number one of proper sitting posture is: don’t sit for too long! No matter how ergonomic your sitting posture may be, the fact is that prolonged sitting will always be harmful for your back. Moving around frequently and getting enough exercise is most important for maintaining long term health. 

  1. During your work day stand up at least once an hour and take a few steps, or perhaps do a few stretching exercises. 
  2. You can incorporate stretching and tension-relieving exercises into your daily routine by doing them for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning or evening. An early morning workout like a yoga session will also help strengthen your muscles and maintain flexibility. 
  3. Endurance sports that are particularly suitable for frequent sitters are jogging, Nordic walking or swimming. 
  4. Increasing strength in targeted muscle groups can help mitigate and relieve back pain. Focus especially on training your core and lower back: the stronger these muscle groups are, the better they are able to provide support for the spine.

This article has been translated from German to English by Christie Sacco. You can read the original version here: Richtig sitzen: 12 Tipps für eine bessere Haltung

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