All growing up, your parents probably told you to sit up straight. Turns out slouching has further consequences than being viewed as impolite at the dinner table. Consistently sitting in a bad posture now can attribute to the back pain you will experience later on in life. Back pain can become very costly to remedy, especially if your condition worsens to a herniated or bulging disc. Often times, when you’re sitting at your desk, you’re not conscious of the fact that you’re hovering over your computer screen or slouching in your seat. It is when you do realize your bad habit that you correct yourself. But how do you maintain good posture, even without having to think about it? It may seem tricky to subconsciously be aware of your posture but here are some easy-to-use tips which you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you sit up straight and take the weight off your lower back:
- Sit back in your chair. Know how to sit in your chair in a proper and ergonomic manner. Do not sit forward or at the edge of your chair – instead, lean back. Rest your hips and butt against the back support of your chair to lessen the weight put on your lower back. Utilize and take full advantage of the ergonomics of the chair – it was built with a back for a reason. Otherwise, your office could be stocked with stools, imagine that!
- Support your lower back. If you spend a majority of your day at a desk and seated for an extended period of time, it’d be wise to invest in a lumbar support cushion. Place it between your lower back and the chair to help your spine maintain its natural curve while supporting your lower back. Don’t cross your legs either – rather, put your feet on the ground. This will prevent your spine from contorting in an odd manner.
- Take a break. When you remain stagnant in your chair for hours on end, you often forget about your posture. Take a break from your desk and take a quick walk. Whether it is a brief five-minute walk around the block or even a quick loop around the office, it’ll leave you feeling refreshed and more aware of your posture when you sit back down again. Not only that, it feels good to get up and out of your seat, even for a little bit!
- Make sure that your computer screen is at the right height. You may not realize it but if you’re slouching just to read the screen, the height of it is probably too low. Not having the height adjusted properly can definitely attribute to your poor posture. A good rule of thumb to ensure that your screen is positioned where it should be is this: if you’re looking directly straight at the monitor, you should only have about 15-20% space above where your eye level hits the screen. Make sure your keyboard and monitor are straight in front of you too, not to the side.
- Exercise helps. Exercising your upper back and shoulders will strengthen the muscles and enable you to naturally and unconsciously maintain good posture. Yoga strengthens your core and enables you to keep a proper body alignment.
- Use a ball to ensure you’re sitting straight. A good trick is to place a ball between your back and the back of the chair. If it falls, that means you’re not sitting far enough up. This will provide a constant reminder that if you slouch, the ball will drop – and who wants to drop the ball? No pun intended.
Interestingly enough, studies show when your posture improves, your memory improves as well. Not only that, but sitting up straight can give you a boost of confidence and standing tall literally makes you feel more powerful. It’s no surprise that standing tall exudes confidence and makes you feel good about yourself. Eventually, you’ll be able to naturally and unconsciously maintain good posture by incorporating these tips.