WORKING FROM HOME: SITTING POSTURE
Today, many of us have to work over a laptop or use a desktop at work for a long sitting position, which can actually load the joints, ligaments, or muscles within your spine, perhaps leading to pain and work stress.
A good sitting posture means that you’re maintaining the three natural curves within your spine, that is, a curve in your neck, a curve out just between your shoulder blades, and a curve in your lumbar spine, which can eventually rule out a proper work from home sitting posture to give you a pain-free workday.
Even if you try to cover up your bad posture with exercising, it’s been evident that the negative effects of sitting for too long aren’t reversed by exercise.
This is because being active does not simply reverse the effects of metabolic changes caused because of sitting. So, it is important that one takes extra precautions and makes an effort to self-correct and achieve a good posture.
8 Steps for Correct Sitting Posture for Work from Home:
Here we will discuss ways to set up your desk for comfortable ergonomics and achieve the best sitting position for lower back pain. We’ll walk you through each step in the process, then provide a checklist that you can review at the end.
Start with keeping your spine and neck straight and maintaining a forward head posture directly above and not forward of your pelvis.
Next, set the height of your work desk so that your elbows rest at a 90-degree angle when using the keyboard. Make sure your chair has lumbar support. Draw yourself up and use the back support at the curve of your back.
Your wrists and hands, meanwhile, should extend in a straight line from your arms; they should not need to bend up or down to reach the keyboard.
Depending on the size of the monitor, you may want to set it at about 26 to 30 inches away from you, then set the height of your monitor based on screen size. For a smaller monitor, set the top edge of the screen at eye level; for a larger monitor, your eye level should line up with the top third of the screen.
Once the screen height is set, tilt the monitor to a comfortable angle between 10 and 20 degrees making sure to avoid glare from overhead lights.
Here’s a quick checklist of all the points we discussed. Take a moment to make sure every adjustment has been made.
- Stand straight and align the spine
- Adjust the height of the table
- Sit on a chair with lumbar support
- Set elbows at 90 degrees
- Wrists and hands in a straight line from arms
- Monitor 26-30 inches away
- Set screen at eye level
- Tilt monitor between 10 to 20 degree.
Now your desk is properly set up for more comfort and less fatigue over the course of your workday.
Dos & Don’ts While Sitting
- Find a good pelvic position: Sit with your shoulders over your hips, feet flat on the floor, and chin aligned over your chest in a neutral spine position. Allow your spine to settle in its natural “S” curve.
- Tuck your chin: Doing chin tucks exercises keeps the head aligned above the spine, rather than drifting forward into bad posture. Don’t hunch or slump forward in the chair.
- Adjust your monitor distance and height: Position the monitor about an arm’s length away from your face. The monitor’s top should be adjusted at eye level. If not, you will spend a lot of time gazing down.
- Don’t sit up straight: Sitting upright at 90 degrees may look ergonomic, but for long periods it puts unnecessary strain directly on the spine as you hold yourself up.
- Don’t adjust the height of the chair to your leg: For a computer setup, the chair’s height depends on where the keyboard and mouse are. Put your seat too low, and your arms will pinch the edge of the desk; put your seat too high and you’ll end up slouching.
- Standing isn’t good for you: Standing desks are popular nowadays, but standing all day isn’t any better than sitting. The problem is, for the most part, we’re stationary, and movement throughout the day is only the way out.
In addition to making changes of work positioning and taking a note from Dos and Don’ts, you may also want to do a few exercises in between breaks to keep your body lumbar strong.
5 Exercises For Correct Sitting Posture:
1. Neck Rolls
Neck rolls are one of the easiest mobilization exercises you can do. It creates some stretch receptors in the neck to fire and gets the blood flowing in your neck again, rehydrating your intervertebral discs.
How to do:
- Start off with your head bent in front and roll your head backwards into extension and then return back to the initial position.
- Do 20 rolls from both sides and for 3-4 sets.
2. Shoulder Rolls
This is a perfect exercise for removing stress and tension in the shoulders and improving the circulation in those joints.
How to do:
- Squeeze the mid-back muscles like rhomboids and mid traps and lower back to promote upright posture.
Repeat this motion 20 times and for 3-4 sets.
3. Shoulder and Chest Openers
This is best for stretching biceps, front of shoulders, and chest muscles.
How to do:
- Place your hands on the desk-top and with them planted on the desk move your body away from the desk so that the arm extends back into the straight arm position.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds for 4-5 sets.
4. Spine twists
This stretches the spinal muscle and relieves stiffness in the neck and shoulders.
How to do:
- Grab the back of your chair or thigh and hold this stretch for about 5 long and controlled breaths and then alternate to the other side.
- It’s perfectly normal if you hear some pops and cracks.
- Hold the stretch for 5 long breaths.
5. Hamstring stretch
Stretching this muscle will help with lower back pain and anterior pelvic tilt too.
- Stand up and place your heel on the chair you are sitting on. Slump your body over facing your foot. This will create a stretch at the back of your thigh.
- To create more of the stretch, point your toe towards your body.
- Hold the stretch for 30msec. Perform 3-4 sets.
6. Posture Correcting Belts
A bad posture is not just a result of a long sitting position. But the drooping shoulders and bent back is the reason why most people face serious problems of back pain and discomfort. To fix this, it is often advised to use a posture correction belt that ensures the right alignment of the back and shoulders.
Basically, what posture correcting belts do is it corrects upper thoracic posture and is devised to create the right balance.
- Recommended for those who sit or stand for prolonged hours with a slouched posture.
- Helps prevent pain, discomfort, and major problems related to the back, spine, shoulder, and neck.
- Promote proper sitting posture by mechanotherapy through muscle memory training.
There are various back braces, and each has its function. Having great posture is the goal but wearing it doesn’t strengthen the muscles in the back of the neck or upper back. So while a belt may help while it is on, when you take it off, the forward head posture will get back.
Try to include posture-specific exercises in your workouts while also wearing a posture correcting belt that can help you in the long sitting position.