Many office workers spend dozens of hours every week sitting at a desk and staring at a computer. This may be a necessary component of office jobs, but it can have a negative impact on physical health. Poor posture can cause everything from back pain to hand numbness. Here are a few ways to improve your posture while seated at your desk.
Plant Your Feet on the Floor
Try to sit with your feet firmly planted on the floor. As the day wears on, some people might find themselves crossing their legs or arranging their feet in awkward positions. Others may simply be too short for their desk chairs and unable to fully reach the floor with their feet. To sit with good posture, however, people should place their feet on the ground at hip distance apart. The knees should be roughly even with the hips, and the lower back should be directly pressed against the back of the chair. People who can't get their lower body into this positioning may have to adjust their chair.
It is difficult and not recommended to sit straight without adequate back support. Instead, it’s favored to adjust the chair so that the cushions support the upper and lower back. If the chair doesn’t provide the support needed to sit up straight, people can supplement the existing backrest with extra pillows or cushions designed for this purpose.
Release Shoulder Tension
A great deal of tension is held in the shoulders, and it often goes unnoticed. People who sit at a desk all day can benefit from being more aware of areas of tension in their body. If the shoulders are starting to creep up towards the ears, it's time to relax. To maintain good posture, people should keep their shoulders down, back, and in line with the back of the head.
Sit Directly in Front of the Computer
Don't make typing any harder than it has to be. People should sit directly in front of their keyboard. When the arms are rested on the sides of the keyboard, they should be bent at a 90-degree angle. If people don't follow these arm posture guidelines, they're more susceptible to shoulder pain.
Keep Your Hands Safe
When people place too much pressure on the wrist, it can occasionally lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. To prevent this, people should rest their wrists in comfortable, neutral positions. Cushioned wrist rests can be helpful to both prevent this condition and to ease pain for those who suffer from wrist pain.
Pay Attention to Your Body
If you experience aches and pains at the end of the workday, your body is telling you something. Take note of the body parts that suffer the most, and adjust your posture accordingly. If your lower back is hurting, get a lumbar pillow. If your shoulders ache, take a break every few hours to do some shoulder stretches.
Get Up and Move
Working a desk job shouldn't prevent people from moving around. The best way to maintain good posture is to avoid sitting for too long. Even ballerinas and yoga instructors will start to slump if they stay in one position for hours. Moving every 30 minutes by standing or stretching or walking can help alleviate the damage of a sitting for long bouts of time. This will help them stay limber, prevent unnecessary aches and pains, and according to many studies counteract the increase of mortality associated with a sedentary lifestyle.