The industrial and tech revolution have drastically changed man’s life. Today many people do much of their work sitting down. For most people working in an office, sitting occupies much of your day. In fact many of us do spend a lot of our time sitting down whether at home or at work. Life as it is today involves a lot of sitting with just a few moments standing or walking.
However sitting for a long time whether in the office or at home can be detrimental to your back; it can cause pain in your lower back and if you might have had a previous problem with your back, it may worsen the situation. The static posture that one keeps for that long time tends to increase stress on the shoulders, arms, legs and the back.
For one to prevent pain or damage to their body it is important to maintain a good posture. Unfortunately many people after sitting for a long time tend to slouch down or over the chair. This is very dangerous and can cause extensive strain to the spine and overstretch back muscles. It is thus important for one to maintain a good sitting posture whenever you are sat down. Here are a few guidelines to help you put your body in order when sitting down.
1. Choose the right chair
The chair that you sit on determines how you will set your body. It is thus important to have the right chair so as to ensure that your back and more specifically your spine does not go through any unnecessary stress. Ergonomics, the study of how one fits in their work environment has led to the development of ergonomic chairs. An ergonomic chair is specifically designed to ensure that your body is well placed and is well supported to ensure that you do not slouch down or slouch over while you are working or even at home. If you are committed to maintaining a good seating posture then do consider going the extra mile of choosing the chair you sit on carefully; choose an ergonomic chair.
Some alternatives to the traditional office chair are the Swiss exercise ball or the Swedish kneeling chair and draughtsman chairs. These chairs are designed to maximize movement while sitting, an important factor to ensure that your back muscles are not strained by continuous sitting.
2. Support the back
As stated earlier much of the strain that comes from sitting for a long time goes to the back. It is thus recommended that while sitting, you provide as much support as you can for your back. You should adjust your chair to ensure that your lower back is sufficiently supported so as to reduce the strain on the back. You should also get an adjustable chair so that you can easily change back position, height and tilt for maximum comfort.
3. Arm and Elbow positioning
As you adjust your chair make sure that the arms are parallel to your spine. Put the desk as close to you as you can. The forearms and the wrist should be parallel to the floor such that the arms form an L-shape with the elbow being at a 90-degrees angle. The keyboard should be placed in front of you leaving a gap of about 4-6 inches between the keyboard and the edge of the desk so as to provide a space for you to rest your wrists between bouts of typing.
4. Eye level
The computer monitor should be placed just right in front of you so that your gaze be aimed at the center of the screen. Any deviation from the center will cause you to slouch and also increase the strain on your upper spine.
5. Thigh and Calf measure
You should be able to slide your fingers under the space between your thigh and the edge of the office chair. If you can’t, then you need to raise your feet using an adjustable foot rest. You should also be able to fit your clenched fist between your calf and the front of your chair. If your fist does not fit then you need to adjust the back rest by pushing it forward.
6. Feet rested on the floor
Finally, your feet should be rested on the floor, flat. This helps with posture, if they aren’t, you can use a footrest that can raise your feet to a comfortable level for you. Also be careful not to cross your legs as this can lead to posture related problems.
There are other many documented ways to achieve a good seating posture but no matter the method, everyone should follow through so as to avoid future back problems.