We’re told to sit up straight and avoid the slouch, at first by our scolding mothers, then by our school teachers and then, by our own selves eventually. Good posture is an elusive concept and not something most of us take seriously enough. Is it just about sitting up straight while you sit? Not exactly. Learn why you should work on alignment and how to improve posture while you sit.
Back pain affects eight out of 10 people at some point during their lives and can range in its severity – from a constant ache or a sharp pain. While back pain can result from exercise, a labor-intensive occupation or an awkward sleeping position, it is often just a build up of less-than-perfect posture.
It’s hard to avoid sitting. Our bodies are made to be in constant movement, but many of us only move from one seat to the next, without much range of motion in between. Too much sitting can be agitating at best and deadly, at worst.
Practicing good posture can prevent neck, hip and knee pain as well as provide your diaphragm and rib cage more room to expand while you breathe. If those reasons aren’t compelling enough, good posture also makes you to look taller, slimmer and more confident.
Here’s how to improve posture while sitting. Ingrain these tips into your head and keep them with you wherever you sit. They are easy and effective!
7 steps on how to improve posture while sitting:
- Uncross your legs and plant your feet on the floor in front of you.
- Adjust your seat so that your hips are slightly above your knees. This allows your body to properly distribute weight among your feet, thighs, hips and lower back.
- Relax your shoulders. Remind yourself of this regularly, as we often tense up without realizing it.
- Align your head and neck with your spine.
- Keep your computer screen at eye level, so you are not forced to look up or hunch over, looking down.
- If there is no arch in your lower back as you sit, place a small pillow or cushion between the chair and lower back to offer support.
- Every 30 minutes, get up and take a little stroll around the office or house. This prevents your body from getting too used to sitting and offers relief to your lower back and hamstrings.
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Photo Credit: Erin Schuttenmaer