How To Achieve Proper Sitting Posture
Most things you may have heard or read about proper sitting posture show you a picture or drawing of someone in a proper ergonomic position. Ergonomic refers to “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely”, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary. The idea is that proper sitting position will reduce injury and maximize productivity. But as I sit and write this I must confess that sitting in of itself is problematic.
A dozen studies or more support the undeniable truth that sitting for long periods of time can increase your chances of diabetes, obesity, spinal degeneration, and even shorten your lifespan by 50%! For many, sitting at a desk is the only option. To sit in an ergonomically correct position can still reduce common conditions that plague our American workforce. So let’s cover that first and then discuss alternatives to a traditional sitting position.
To sit ergonomically correct follow the “90 degree” rule: Sit up straight so your torso is 90 degrees to the floor, then set your monitor to eye level. Next move your body to the desk so that your arms are slightly tucked in. The forearm is 90 degrees to your upper arm. If at this stage your feet are off the ground get a box or platform to place below your feet so that your legs are at 90 degrees to your torso. Your wrists need to be straight and supported by a pad.
Using A Kneeling Chair As An Alternative
Another alternative that I like is using a chair called a kneeling chair. Everything except the leg angle stays the same. The great thing about this chair is it increases the angle between your torso and your legs. This position serves to alleviate the stress on your spine as well lengthen the hip flexor muscle that is commonly associated with back problems.
One very good solution is a combo approach of sitting and standing desks. It takes your work station and allows you to sit and stand without having to move all your hardware. One company that is leading the way in affordability and versatility is Varidesk. Set up is easy. Employers will cover the cost for a unit like this because it supports proper ergonomics and improves productivity. The point is to get you to move more and not be in one position for too long.
Ideally you need to change positions every 15-120 minutes. Whether at a sitting desk or standing desk or a combination you need something to remind you to move often. I recommend setting your phone to give a “ping” every 20 minutes when you are working. Another idea is to use a sticky attached to your computer as a visual reminder to move. The human body is designed for movement. Research shows it’s the lack of movement that will almost literally kill you.
And on that note I’m getting up right now!