5 ways to improve your sitting posture
A twinge in the back, a stiff neck, pins and needles in one leg, a niggly shoulder … we ‘re all accustomed to little aches and pains, but what you may not realise is that some of these complaints could be eradicated by simply sitting better.
As we all find ourselves sitting for longer periods of time - whether balancing an iPad to connect with friends and family whilst social distancing means we can’t get together, working from home with a laptop, or relaxing in front of the television - it is becoming increasingly important that we remain mindful of our posture.
Whilst you may feel comfortable at the time, poor posture can lead to discomfort, back or joint pain. Over the longer term, sitting without the right support can lead to health complaints and medical concerns that are difficult to overcome.
If you have begun to notice aches and pains developing as a result of sitting for longer periods of time, it may be time to rethink your sitting posture. Think of it as future-proofing your body for the years to come. Read on for 5 tips to improve your sitting posture, and your quality of life.
What is good posture?
With good posture, your weight is distributed evenly throughout the body, your back is straight and your head and shoulders are upright and in line with your hips. Legs are bent at the knee at a right-angle and both feet are on the floor.
Sitting with incorrect posture places pressure on different areas of the body, depending on how you prefer to sit. For example, if you find that you naturally slouch down in your seat, your spine curves and your shoulders roll forwards creating pressure on the spine and lower back; or maybe you’ve got into the habit of leaning forwards, or sitting at an unnatural angle which pushes your body out of alignment; or perhaps you rest one foot on something or cross your legs for long periods of time, restricting blood flow.
There are things you can do right now to correct your posture before issues become chronic and potentially painful further down the line.
Ensure your back is supported.
When seated, your spine should be straight, with your back at right angles to your thighs, feet should be flat on the floor. Ergonomically designed chairs will enable you to maintain this position comfortably for longer stretches of time.
However, not all chairs offer the same support. If your chair has a rigid or curved back, then you can roll up a hand towel to place in the small of your back to ensure you are maintain the natural curvature of the spine, and that you are supported throughout the length of your spine and neck.
Adjust your monitor or laptop.
If you find yourself slouching forward while working, it could be that your monitor is too low down so you’re having to lean forward to keep it at eye level. Sit up with your back straight and then adjust the height of your monitor or laptop so that the top of your screen is at eye level. A well-designed chair will allow you to adjust the height of the seat to suit the height of your table or desk.
If you use a laptop, invest in a stand to rest it on so that you can make the same adjustments. Most stands will enable you to angle the keyboard to ensure that your wrists are also at the most comfortable angle possible.
Ensure your feet are planted on the floor or supported using a footrest.
Did you know that 19% - or almost 1/5 - of our body weight is transferred through our feet while we’re sitting down? Planting your feet squarely on the floor allows them to fully support this weight. When this is not the case, weight is distributed elsewhere in your body, putting increased pressure on joints and limbs. If you cannot comfortably place your feet flat on the ground while sitting, find a footstool or a chair with a footrest that will help to support you.
Take regular standing breaks.
As joints and muscles tire from maintaining the same posture, it can become difficult to maintain for long periods of time. Around once every hour, be sure to stand up and walk around for a short while – get yourself a cuppa, take a comfort break, feed the cat. This will help maintain blood flow around your body and give the muscles being used to maintain your posture a bit of a rest.
Avoid crossing your legs or twisting in your seat.
This something that many of us do when sitting down at home. Crossing your legs, or sitting sideways in your seat, throws your pelvis out of line with your spine. This can lead to curvature of the spine which is painful and can be difficult to correct. Ensure that even when sitting at home, you maintain correct posture with your feet flat on the ground or supported on a footrest of a chair and your spine at right angles with your thighs.
How we can help.
If you would like to improve your posture while sitting in order to prevent problems in future, or if you are beginning to experience discomfort as a result of poor posture, Recliner Chairs and Beds Ltd produce a range of adjustable furniture designed to support good posture and maintain a comfortable sitting position at the same time.
Our riser recliner chairs range offers improved sitting posture and mobility support tailored to your individual requirements.