How to improve your posture at your desk
Tips to improve your posture at your desk so that you work more comfortablyTaping a yardstick to your back may cramp your style, but it is an effective way to train your body to straighten up. Fortunately itís not the only way.
Why is it so important to sit up straight? Poor posture is bad for your health. It can lead to back and neck aches, exhaustion, headaches and chronic pain. From a professional perspective, it makes you look less Ė less confident, less able and less likely to stand out.
Working a desk job can be challenging enough. Why throw physical pain into the mix of daily challenges? These simple suggestions will help improve your posture at your desk in no time. At first they may seem like more work than theyíre worth, but correcting alignment will soon become a physical habit you donít have to stop and think about.
Put the chair to work
One simple way to improve your posture at your desk is to adjust your chair. A quality desk chair will support the lower back, tilt as needed and adjust so your eyes are properly aligned with the screen. If your knees arenít level with your hips, get a foot rest so they are.
Sitting may go with the territory of your job, but youíre not chained to the chair. Stand up at least every 30 minutes and take a small walk down the hall to send blood flowing throughout the body. Rather than chatting online or calling a colleague, walk over to their desk and stand while you talk.
The correct posture for sitting is way more comfortable than slouching, once you're used to it. Slouching over a keyboard causes muscle fatigue anyway. When seated, sit a little forward so your weight is on the hamstrings rather than tail bone. You'll feel the neck and shoulders relax almost instantly.
Keep your feet flat on the floor rather than sitting on them. Your elbows should be at your sides, arms in line with the floor so as you type the elbows donít have to move. Next arrange the screen so the top is at eye level. Tilt it up a bit so the head doesnít have to move when you look at the full screen.
Familiarize your body with alignment
All it means to have good posture is to maintain the bodyís alignment, essentially youíre stacking major joints on top of one another to best support your frame. Once you know how this feels, sitting and standing straight can become second nature. Sit up with your back straight and shoulders squared. Keep your chin and eyes up, tummy in and feet facing forward.
If possible, look at yourself sitting in a chair at home. First sit the way you normally do at work then consciously straighten up. Do you see and feel a difference?
Incorporate a few subtle stretches into your day to engage the muscles and physically remind the body to sit tall and strong.
- Mountain pose: If you do yoga, youíre probably familiar with this one. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, feet and palms facing forward. Stretch your arms and breathe deeply as energy runs from your feet up your body to the head.
- Extend your spine: Before going in to work and when you return home do a series of spinal extensions. You need to lie on your stomach with elbows bent so hands are near your shoulders. Arch the spine as you push yourself up so the chest is elevated. Hold for a few breaths, lower and repeat.
- Stretch the chest: You can do this one standing at your desk or sitting. Simply clasp your hands behind you and raise the arms as you open your chest. Breathe deeply and you'll feel this in your chest and arms. Hold for a few breaths at a time before releasing.
Making these adjustments is guaranteed to bring positive changes to how you feel at work. Improve your posture at your desk and say fairwell to aches and fatigue.