Proper Posture At Desk: How To Practice Good Posture

Proper Posture At Desk: How To Practice Good Posture

Maintaining proper posture at desk can help you feel confident, concentrated, relaxed, good mood, protects from abnormal wear and tear, spirited, healthy, and much more.

So, what is the right body posture! Proper posture is all about correct alignment of various parts of your body like the head, the shoulders, the upper back, the lower back, the buttocks, and the legs.

It leads to the right amount of tension in the muscles holding various bony parts of the body. When posture is improper, the tendons and ligaments attached to various bony body parts may experience an imbalance of forces resulting in strain.

This results in pain. Yet, we do not really need to be aware of the need to maintain a normal posture. The coordinated action of the core muscles and the postural muscles of our body help us maintain proper posture.

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Proper Posture At Desk — How To Sit Properly At Desk

You need to practice proper posture while seating, otherwise, you will end up suffering from a stiff back, back pain, neck pain, etc. So what makes a proper seating posture at the desk?

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor

If you are sitting crossed leg or if only the toes are touching the floor, you are in a poor posture. In such a posture, you are putting stress on the large postural muscles of your back and pelvis.

This, in turn, is interfering with blood flow. A crossed-leg posture also forces you to lean to one side. This, in turn, causes an imbalance in pelvic posture. So, try to make it a habit to keep your feet flat on the floor.

If your legs are not reaching the floor try keeping them on a footrest. Height adjustment chairs are the best bet when it comes to finding the right height.

In fact, in order to make sure that you can keep your feet flat on the ground you need to find the right height for you.

  • Put the ankles in front of the knees

If your ankles are behind your knees, you are putting pressure on your knees rather than the ankles. The idea is that the legs should be straight and the feet should bear the weight of the body along with the chair.

When the ankles are in front of your knees you can stand up on your feet without putting much pressure on the knees. Moreover, such a posture helps you to put your feet flat on the floor.

If your ankles are behind the knees, you are not able to put your feet flat on the floor. Moreover, you will be putting a lot of stress on the knees while getting up. This is especially difficult for elderly people and people with knee problems.

  • Keep a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat

One of the most dangerous fallouts of sitting in a chair for prolonged periods of time can be deep vein thrombosis. It is true that being immobile for long hours is not the only factor contributing to venous thrombosis; obesity, smoking, and some other factors may also contribute to this debilitating condition.

Nevertheless, you do need to adopt precautions if your employees are spending long hours sitting in chairs since deep vein thrombosis can be sudden and life-threatening.

If you are sitting in such a way that the back of your knee is pressed against the front edge of the seat, you may be hurting the complex anatomical features at the back of your knee.

Such a posture may contribute to the slowing or obstruction of blood flow to the lower legs. Over time, this may cause venous thrombosis.

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  • Keep your knees at or below the level of your hips

If you are sitting on a chair that is too low for your height, the knees would be positioned above the level of your hips. Similarly, if you are sitting on a high chair you have to try to put yours on the ground.

In this case, your knees would be below your hips. Both of these are harmful postures since they put pressure on your spine and may result in back pain and stiffness.

If the knees are slightly below your hip level there is no problem. But, if the knees are even slightly above your hip level they may hurt your back. So, make sure that the knees are at the level of the hips or just slightly below it.

  • Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support

The backrest needs to support your back in every posture. However, you may need to change the recline angle of the backrest to arrive at the best posture. There are many chairs that come with a tilt lock system.

With this system, you can recline the backrest and lock it from different angles. By adjusting the recline angle you can arrive at the best supporting position for your back.

However, it is very much possible that except when you are in full recline posture, there is a gap between the lower or mid-back and the backrest.

This may lead to strain on the concerned portion of the spine and therefore may lead to back pain. Especially when you are sitting upright, there is a gap between the backrest and the lower back area. To adjust this you need to use back support in the form of a pillow.

  • Hold your head upright and keep your forearms parallel to the ground

If you are slouching, your shoulders and cervical spine are under strain. You need to hold your head upright, relax your shoulders, and make sure that the computer monitor is placed straight ahead at your eye level.

If the computer monitor is placed below the eye level you need to tilt your head down. If you are doing this regularly you may suffer from a tech neck, a problem caused by continuously looking down at a computer monitor, phone, or tablet.

A study on tech neck in 2014 observed that when you hold your head in line with the shoulders, it weighs only about 10 pounds. As you look down you increase the strain on your spine.

The study observed that for every inch of the forwarding tilt of the head, the weight of the head on the spine doubles. So, you need to keep your head upright. This will make sure that there is no strain on the spine.

If you are sitting straight and keeping your head upright and the computer monitor is lying straight ahead at your eye level, it also means that your forearms are parallel to the ground.

This is the most stable posture that you can have while sitting on a chair. In this posture, the spine is resting in its normal alignment, and this also includes the neck or the cervical spine.

This is a neutral spine position and also the most desirable position. Since you are holding your head upright and your forearms parallel to the ground you are also not putting any stress on the shoulders.

So, your shoulders are resting and are not under any strain. This indicates that there is no strain on the muscles and musculature surrounding your spine whether it is in the cervical region, thoracic region, lumbar region, or sacrum region.

  • Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time

Physical problems like venous thrombosis, obesity, neck pain, back pain, indigestion, and more can result from long periods of seating. This is why you need to often change your position while maintaining a healthy posture.

If you are sitting in the same position for long periods of time, certainly there are muscles, muscle heads, nerves, tendons, etc that are getting pressed for long periods of time. This may prevent blood flow to certain areas of your body such as the lower legs.

If you make it a habit to sit in the same position for hours on a regular basis, you are going to harm blood flow to certain parts of your body. You need to prevent this, and this is why you need to change your sitting position often.

  • Keep your pelvis neutral

The spine has an ‘S’ shape with flaring at the hip joint. This results in an arch in the low back. If you are just sitting upright and not doing anything extra, you are keeping your pelvis neutral.

This is the normal alignment of the spine and the buttocks while sitting. If you are being overzealous in maintaining an ergonomic posture and are thrusting your pelvis against the lower edge of the backrest, you are not having a neutral pelvis position.

In this posture, your pelvis is thrust backward. At other times you may be just slouching and thrusting your pelvis forward. This too is not a normal pelvic position.

Both these postures put pressure on your lower back. So, how do you find a neutral pelvis position? Finding a neutral pelvic position is rather easy.

To find a neutral pelvis position you need to find your sitting bones. These are so-called since they are meant to help you sit. These bones form the very bottom part of your buttocks and are meant to bear the weight of your body.

So, you need to sit on these bones. These are prominent bones that you can feel while sitting if you are not too obese. Large posterior muscles, fatty tissue, etc often make it difficult to notice the bones.

However, with some practice and conscious efforts you can locate the bones. You need to feel the bones while sitting. You can put your hands underneath the buttocks and feel the sitz bones.

Once you can feel these bones, just lower yourself on the seat so as to sit straight on these bones. Now, arch your lower back and tilt your pelvis forward until you feel the sitz bones becoming pointy.

  • Make sure your ears, shoulders, and hips are aligned

The natural curves of the spine are maintained by keeping the ears, shoulders, and hips aligned. Any deviation from this posture puts excess pressure on the spine and results in pain. If you are doing this regularly, it may also result in injury.

  • Maintain the lumbar curvature

There is a small inward curve in the lumbar spine area. While you are sitting with your upper back supported against the backrest of the chair, this inward curve in the lower back does not have a support.

Needless to say, you need to maintain this curve in order to maintain the normal alignment of your spine, shoulders, ears, and hips. Without any support, this inward curve tends to bulge outward and put pressure on the muscles and musculature holding it.

This can cause pain. If you are doing it regularly this may hurt your back and also injure your lumbar spine or its associated musculature. It can result in strain, sprains, or disc herniation.

To prevent such injuries and pain you can use a lumbar pillow or a rolled-up towel to provide support to the lower back.

  • Evenly distribute your weight over both hips

If you are leaning on one side while sitting, you are putting pressure on one of your hips. This position is harmful to your spine. The spine has a symmetrical alignment starting from the cervical portion to the coccyx in your pelvis through the lumbar arch and sacrum.

There are vertebrae and bone all along the spine which are connected through musculature. If you are leaning to one side there is disproportionate tension on the musculature and this puts pressure on the spine.

Eventually, this may lead to spinal injuries such as dislocation of discs. So, it is a good idea to shift your weight between your hips rather than leaning on one side. However, if you are doing well sitting evenly on your hips you are doing justice to ergonomics.

Major Muscles That Determine Posture

Core muscles are the major muscles that move, support, and stabilize your spine. Whether you are bending forward, standing up straight, bending backward, twisting to one side, holding your spine straight during movement, there is a core muscle responsible for the movement.

They transfer force through the body and prevent neck, back, knee, or hip pain. Apart from the core muscles, there are postural muscles like the hamstring, the large back muscles, etc which coordinate with the core muscles to maintain posture.

In fact, postural muscles are known as stabilizing muscles since they stabilize your posture. In essence, the combination of core and postural muscles acting through tendons and ligaments helps us maintain our balance and posture while sitting, standing, moving, or doing anything else.

However, all these happen when we get used to proper posture and when our core and postural muscles are strong enough. For maintaining posture, your core muscles need to be flexible and strong. You also need to have efficient postural muscles that can balance both sides of the spine.

There may be postural abnormalities, but recognizing bad postural habits helps in rectifying these anomalies and brings about better posture.

Importance Of Proper Seating Posture

Poor posture may cause excessive strain on muscles, tendons, and ligaments. If you are putting up with the same posture for hours on a regular basis the postural muscles may tend to relax.

This results in an imbalance of forces acting on the spine. This is the perfect recipe for back and neck pain. So, you do need to rectify your seating posture.

Needless to say owing to a sedentary lifestyle, general lack of activity, lack of exercise, obesity, stress, weak postural muscles, high-heeled shoes, improper chairs, abnormally tight muscles, etc, we tend to have a poor posture.

Our muscles are not strong, flexible, and efficient enough. They are not able to coordinate well and bring about a well-balanced posture while sitting or standing.

This is why you need to be conscious of proper posture. If you are not careful about your posture get ready for perennial low back pain, neck pain, and more.

If you are going by all the rules of proper posture, you are doing a favor to your body. Proper posture helps in –

  • Keeping the bones and joints in proper alignment which, in turn, ensures proper use of muscles.
  • Cutting down on joint surface wear and tear such as knee joint, hip joint, etc. Since bone, joint wear, and tear are often regarded as a precursor to arthritis you are likely to delay or prevent the onset of arthritis if you follow proper posture.
  • Bringing down the strain on ligaments in the spine. There are several ligaments connecting different structures of the spine to muscles. If you are sitting in proper posture your spine is in normal alignment. This makes sure that there is no strain on the ligaments attached to the spine.
  • Preventing the spine from adopting abnormal curvatures.
  • Preventing fatigue since efficient use of muscles also means allowing the body to consume less energy.
  • Preventing backache, neck pain, shoulder pain, muscular pain, and injuries.

Final Verdict

Needless to say, in a good posture you have to have your head, shoulders, and buttocks in one plane with the legs straight and firmly touching the floor while ankles are slightly in front of the knees and the knees are at the level of the buttock or slightly lower than that.

Yet, it is not pragmatic to look for the right posture every time you sit. This is why you need to consider using an ergonomically designed chair. Such a chair can help you attain the best posture by dint of its design.

You don’t need to try too hard or consciously try to attain a proper posture at desk. So, it is a good idea to get a good office chair that can help you attain the best posture because of its design.

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