How to maintain good posture: Improving Healthy Spine
How to maintain good posture: Maintaining proper posture and a healthy back and spine can be achieved through the way a person sits.
Helpful tips include using an appropriate chair, keeping the back straight, and ensuring feet are flat on the floor.
Considering that many individuals spend a significant portion of their day sitting, such as during commuting, office work, studying, or leisure time at home, it’s essential to be mindful of how sitting habits can impact overall health.
How to maintain good posture
Prolonged sitting can lead to various negative health effects, including;
- misalignment of the musculoskeletal system,
- balance problems,
- impaired digestion, and
- reduced flexibility.
Most people can enhance their sitting posture by following some straightforward guidelines.
This article discusses the significance of good posture and provides guidance on achieving the correct sitting position, especially when working with a computer.
What is good posture?
Defining good posture, it refers to the proper alignment of key body parts with adequate muscle support.
Benefits of good postures
The benefits of correct posture include;
- reducing strain during movement and exercise,
- minimizing wear and tear on joints and muscles,
- maintaining balance,
- preventing muscle strain and overuse conditions, and
- improving spine health.
It’s important to note that what might be a comfortable posture for one person may not be the same for another, so it’s essential to try out different sitting and standing positions.
Types of sitting postures
Various sitting postures are often adopted subconsciously while focusing on other activities.
They can be influenced by the type of chair or seating equipment being used, such as office chairs, armchairs, ergonomic chairs, stools, beanbags, or car seats.
Some examples of sitting postures include;
- sitting upright with or without lumbar support,
- crossing one knee over the other,
- crossing ankles,
- hunching forward,
- slumping backward,
- sitting cross-legged,
- slouching to one side,
- or perching on the edge of the seat.
Best sitting positions
The best sitting position varies based on a person’s height, the chair used, and the activity being performed while seated.
Achieving proper sitting posture involves:
- avoiding crossing knees or ankles,
- maintaining a slight gap between the back of the knees and the chair.
- keeping the feet flat on the floor or on a footrest.
- positioning knees at the same height or slightly below the hips.
- placing ankles in front of the knees.
- relaxing the shoulders.
- sitting up straight and looking forward without straining the neck.
- keeping forearms and knees parallel to the floor when possible.
- holding elbows at the sides to form an L-shape with the arms.
- ensuring the back is against the chair or using a backrest or cushion if needed.
- especially for lower back support.
- avoiding prolonged sitting by taking regular breaks of at least 10 minutes per hour.
- and changing positions frequently.
How to maintain good posture
People who spend prolonged periods at a desk while working or studying should take extra care to maintain a healthy posture and back.
When working at a computer for extended periods, it’s advisable to keep the;
- monitor at arm’s length and not more than 2 inches above the natural line of sight,
- customize workspaces with appropriate supports like footrests, wrist pads, or backrests,
- use a standing desk to alternate between sitting and standing,
- consider ergonomic chairs,
- yoga balls, or knee chairs,
- try different keyboard and mouse types,
- use a headset for long calls or dictation to reduce neck strain,
- position the keyboard and mouse close together to avoid overreaching,
- take occasional breaks and move around to alleviate muscle or joint pain,
- sit up straight and look directly forward when reading mobile screens or monitors,
- and periodically do a mental check to ensure the posture is maintained and make adjustments as needed.
Image of sitting posture of a computer
Improving posture is possible with time, awareness, and commitment.
The duration required to see benefits depends on how consistently a person focuses on posture improvement and their initial posture condition.
Once improved, maintaining good posture requires ongoing effort and self-awareness to recognize and correct unhealthy positions.
Sitting postures to avoid
Certain sitting positions should be avoided, as they can strain or misuse specific muscles, ligaments, or tendons, negatively affecting posture and back health.
- sitting slumped to one side with a bent spine,
- keeping knees, ankles, or arms crossed, dangling or not supporting the feet properly,
- sitting in one position for extended periods,
- straining the neck while looking at screens or documents, and
- sitting for prolonged periods without taking breaks.
Other ways to maintain good sitting position
The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety also recommends;
- avoiding sitting with the head tilted forward to prevent neck injury,
- raising the arms while working to avoid shoulder and neck pain,
- sitting with an unsupported lumbar region,
- bending the wrists to prevent muscle cramps,
- having unsupported forearms to avoid back and shoulder pain, and
- sitting with thighs squashed under a table, which can impair blood circulation and lead to discomfort.
Also, read: 7 Best ways to improve stamina without running.