Sit up straight! Don’t slouch! We’ve all heard it before, but it’s not until we’re older that we begin to realize the toll bad posture can take on our bodies. If, like many, your job involves sitting at a desk, chances are you’ll be spending a fairly decent chunk of your life sitting down. On average, office workers spend about a third of their life sitting, be it at work, relaxing at home, or when using transportation.
Despite sitting being one of the things we do the most, few realize the importance of good posture and how it can affect your bones, joints, and even metabolism. This often results in health issues later on in life. So, to help you avoid discomfort over the years, we’ll be taking a brief look at posture in the workplace and how to sit properly to avoid long-term muscle aches and pains.
What Is a Good Posture At The Office?
A good posture is one that follows our joints and muscles’ natural position. When sitting down at work, the ideal posture is one in which all your main joints are in neutral positions to eliminate any unnecessary tension. As comfortable and tempting as it may seem at the time, slouching in your office chair or bending/arching your back too much while seated can result in long-term muscle aches, pains, and slouch back.
How to Maintain Good Posture in the Workplace
Maintaining good posture in the workplace may seem harder than it sounds at first but is something that will come naturally over time. In essence, you’ll want to make sure your eyes are in line with where you focus the most and your wrists, shoulders, and neck are in neutral, non-strained positions at all times. Achieving the perfect posture at work may require a few adjustments – both physical and environmental.
Physically, you should make a concentrated effort to sit upright and ensure your back is completely flat against the back of your chair, with no empty spaces. Ideally, you use a chair that provides adequate back support from top to bottom. Most office chairs nowadays are height adjustable, which allows you to adapt your chair to your specific size.
If you don’t have a height-adjustable chair, seriously consider investing in one – your back will thank you later! There’s no need to go crazy with the latest and most expensive ergonomic office chair, any basic height-adjustable chair will do in a pinch, and you can always add a pillow if yours doesn’t provide enough back support.
Adjust your seat to the point where your elbows are at desk height when seated. You should be able to form a 90° angle when laying your hands flat on your desk, with your elbows by your side. Your thighs should be more or less parallel to the ground and your legs perpendicular, with your feet flat on the ground or resting on an elevated support.
Raise your screen to eye level and angle your monitor 20 to 30° so you’re looking straight at it. You shouldn’t need to lower your head or adjust your gaze too much, which can add unnecessary neck strain. If you use a laptop, consider investing in an external display that you can adjust to eye level. Move the screen back and zoom in if necessary, do what you can to avoid constantly moving your head. If an external screen is not an option, use a laptop stand, box, or even a pile of books to raise your laptop to eye level so that you’re not bending your back to look at your screen.
A Healthier Posture Means a Healthier Life
It’s never too late to correct your posture at work and avoid long-term pain down the line. If you’re already suffering from back pain due to bad posture, we’re here to help. At Calgary Integrative Medicine, we’ll help design a personalized pain management plan that offers sustainable relief and allows you to live a higher quality life. Call us today at 403-203-7272 or book a consultation online to discuss your options.