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Today, most people have a job that involves sitting in front of a computer for long hours. As the human body is not meant to be in a single position for lengthy periods, sitting for long will eventually cause harm. If your work requires you to be at your desk all day, it is important that you adopt the correct posture to avoid ailments.
Why Do You Need a Proper Sitting Posture?
Everyone is aware of the negative effects of a bad posture. Apart from pain in the neck, lower back, upper back, and possibly a hunch, there are many other negative effects that a bad sitting posture can result in such as an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
Apart from preventing the risks, a proper sitting posture also:
- Keeps your bones and joints in alignment and makes sure your muscles work well
- Reduces any abnormal wear and tear of joint muscles and thus prevents arthritis
- Lessens the strain on the ligaments and spine
- Prevents you from becoming fatigued too soon since your muscles are used correctly
- Prevents problems such as strain injuries, aches and pains
- Prevents pinched nerves that cause pain in the shoulders, slouching, and carpal tunnel syndrome
How To Sit Properly in Front of a Computer?
Knowing how to sit correctly in front of a computer can save you from experiencing the problems mentioned above. If you don’t know what you’ve been doing wrong, below are a few tips that you may find useful:
1. Get the Right Chair
Before we get into how you should sit, we suggest that you invest in the right type of chair since it can help you maintain the right sitting posture. Ergonomic chairs can keep you comfortable and reduce the muscle tension and stress that your body would otherwise go through from sitting in a normal chair.
2. Correct Pelvis Posture
Your pelvis should be in a neutral position, and your bottom should touch the back of the chair. If you keep your pelvis in a neutral position, your sitz bones – the most prominent bones in your buttocks – will feel flat and most of your weight will shift to the back of your thighs. The right pelvic position helps you to maintain a straight spine and prevent slouching.
3. Align Your Ears, Shoulders and Hips
Our spine is not really straight and we have some natural curves that help to keep the body upright. When you align your ears, shoulders and hips, you are maintaining the natural curves of your spine. Shifting from this position tends to cause more stress on the spine, and results in pain and discomfort.
4. Correct Back Position
Along with keeping your ears, shoulders and hips aligned, it is important to make the backrest of your chair recline at the correct angle. You will need to adjust the backrest until it is at a 100 or 110 degrees angle. You can also make use of a small pillow or lumbar cushion to keep your lower back in its natural curved state.
5. Correct Arms and Keyboard Position
Your armrest should be adjusted so that a 100 – 110 degrees angle is formed. Keep your hands lower than your elbows, with your fingers pointing downwards. You will likely need to adjust your keyboard tray so that it is tilting slightly away from you. Avoid resting your wrists on the keyboard since this will cause strain in them.
6. Correct Feet and Legs Position
You should adjust the height of your chair so that your feet touch the floor. If you wear heels, it may be more comfortable for you to take them off while you are seated at your desk. In case your feet don’t touch the ground, invest in a footrest or stool so that you can keep your feet flat and your knees do not experience a lot of strain.
7. Proper Mouse and Monitor Position
The computer and mouse position can either make or break your attempt to maintain the right posture. Keep the computer screen at eye level to avoid bending down or looking up for extended periods. If you are tall or the table is too low, you may need to place the screen on an elevated surface such as a pile of books or monitor stand. You must also place the screen at arm’s length so that you avoid straining your eyes. Your mouse should be kept beside your keyboard so that you do not have to move your arms around too much as you work.
Sitting Positions You Must Avoid
Any type of activity that causes overuse of muscles should be avoided. Sitting in the wrong position can cause muscle strain that can further result in short term discomfort and long term damage. Here are some sitting positions that you must avoid to keep your body strong.
- Slumping sideways while sitting, causing the spine to bend
- Straining the neck while using the computer
- Crossing arms, ankles and knees while sitting
- Not giving the lower back enough support
- Allowing the feet or legs to dangle
- Not shifting your position for a long time
- Sitting for hours at a stretch without taking any breaks
- Slouching or hunching forward
- Using a chair with no proper backrest
Additional Tips to Improve Your Sitting Posture
It may come as a surprise to you, but there are many other things that can improve sitting posture. Modifying your lifestyle can help you sit in the right posture. This is because some activities can help to strengthen the muscles and make it easy to maintain a proper sitting posture while at your desk. If you are curious about what else you can do to help correct your sitting posture, here they are:
- Exercise is very important as it helps to strengthen the muscles in your body. Thirty minutes per day, six days a week can do wonders for the body. Aerobics, strengthening and stretching can help with postural problems.
- Use hands-free devices when you are taking a long phone call.
- Use your legs and not your back while lifting heavy objects and keep them close to your body.
- If you have a baby who likes to be carried around, switch sides at regular intervals.
- Use a baby stroller whose handle reaches your belly button to avoid putting pressure on delicate areas.
Sitting in the correct posture not only strengthens the body, but it also gives you a better appearance and boosts your self-esteem and self-confidence. It may seem like a lot of trouble to keep correcting your posture at first, but if you do not give up and keep at it, you’ll be very happy with how it makes you feel both physically and mentally.