Do you find yourself seated most of your work day? Did you know that your sitting posture throughout the day can have long term effects on your spine and lower back? It can be difficult at first to constantly remember to sit straight and maintain good sitting posture, but it’s actually quite easy.
Believe it or not, you can actually train your back and brain to practice good posture habits. If you have practiced poor posture habits for years, it will take a bit longer to get back into a good posture stance, but it is possible. What happens is that you slouch into what you may think is a comfortable position at the time, but really you are slipping into a bad habit. As you continue to use that same poor posture stance, the muscles in your back, neck, and lower back lose mass, thus encouraging your body to build muscle in the wrong parts of your back in order to support your upper body and your now poor posture position.
Once you try to correct this posture though, you can train those core muscles once again to hold the body weight in a good posture position. Take a look at these do’s and don’ts to help you maintain good posture throughout your day. I guarantee it will have positive long term results.
Keep Your Shoulders in line with your ears
If you can remember throughout the day to keep your ears aligned with your shoulders, chances are you will be practicing good posture.
Adjust Your Computer Screen
Do your best at keeping your computer screen at eye level. If you are constantly looking down at a tilted screen or up high at a monitor, you will eventually strain your neck and this can lead to lower back pain.
Sit Up Straight and Upright
Always remember to keep your ‘shoulders back’. If you can remember this simple phrase, then you will constantly be reminded to sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, and thus promoting the natural curve of the spine. Good posture begins while sitting up straight. The same goes for standing as well. If you do not have an office or desk job, but rather are on your feet all day long, just remember to pull your shoulders back throughout the day. By adjusting your shoulders to line up with your feet, you will begin to walk around with good posture instead of walking around hunched over. Not maintaining good posture while your’re on your feet all day can really take a toll on the lower back. If you are hunched over, you will begin to feel pain in your mid to lower back from supporting the forward pulling weight of your upper body.
Relax Your Shoulders
Keep your shoulders relaxed and do not be tense. I suggested earlier to keep your shoulders back – do this without tightening your shoulders. You want them to be pulled back but not overstressed or tightened.
Move Around Throughout Your Day
This mainly applies to those who have a desk job and are seated for most of their work day. It’s imperative to get up and move around. Our body is designed to move, not to stay in place for hours at a time. It’s healthy for your circulation and heart to get up and walk around at least 6-7 times throughout a normal worday.
Make Sure Your Feet are Flat on the Ground
If you keep your feet flat on the floor, there is a good chance that you won’t cross your legs or sit awkwardly on your feet – which both negatively impact your posture.
Your Hips Should be Horizontally Even with the Knees
If you are holding the proper sitting posture, your hips should be in line with your knees. This can be accomplished by sitting with your back up against the chair and your feet flat on the floor. The hips and knees will automatically horizontally align.
It may seem impossible to not slouch throughout the day, especially when we all need a break every now and then. Just try to remember not to keep a slouching stance for more than a minute or so. As soon as you get comfortable in this slouch, it’s hard to go back to sitting up straight. Try to kick the slouching habit before it starts.
Don’t Stay Seated for Hours at a Time
It can be difficult to take breaks throughout the day, especially if you are meeting certain deadlines or are engulfed in a project. Keep in mind that it’s good for your circulation and other body systems to get up and walk around every 30-45 minutes. Even if it’s to stand and stretch for just 10 seconds. Your body will stiffen up and even cut off the circulation in your legs if you remain seated for hours at a time. Who doesn’t like a quick break anyway, right?
Don’t Rely on Arm Rests or Table Tops
Try not to put any body weight on your elbows if you are standing at a workbench and feel the urge to adjust your weight and lean on your work space. This also shifts your spine and places uneccesary pressure on your lower or upper back. If you sit at a desk all day and happen to have arm rests on your chair, try not to let those aremrests become a crutch. If you lean on them on a regular basis, you are throwing your back out of it’s natural alignment and it’s not good for your posture long term. It’s easy to develop habits like this and then they can become difficult to break.
Don’t Sit at the Edge of Your Seat
Sitting at the edge of your seat can also become a bad posture habit. Most people who do this are coming and going from their desk constantly throughout the day. Sitting back against the backrest doesn’t take any longer to get up and down, and that few minutes of back support can be relieving especially if you are up and down and running around on your feet all day.
Don’t Cross Your Legs
Crossing your legs is more common in females, but men also develop the habit as well. Crossing your legs is very bad for your posture and also promotes the formation of vericose veins later in life. This can also become a very hard habit to break and you should not cross your legs for lengthy periods of time.
If you find that these helpful posture tips aren’t making enough of an impact on your posture, you can always purchase a posture support to wear throughout the day. This takes the stress off of you to remember to sit up straight. The posture support or posture vest will do that work for you, as it will be a constant reminder while you wear it to sit up straight.