Movement

5 Ways to Fix Poor Posture at Work

Poor posture not only leads to compromised comfort but many other physical problems. Learn how to correct your posture with simple modifications.

By URLife Team
13 Jun 2024

Poor posture can easily become second nature to countless people, especially when work requires them to be seated at a desk for extended periods of time. "Sitting disease" has emerged as a recent term in response to new research indicating that prolonged periods of sitting without sufficient movement and proper spine alignment can contribute to various long-term health issues, such as musculoskeletal disorders, chronic pain and increased risk of injuries.

As many as 70 per cent of people spend six or more hours each day sitting down, according to a 2012 study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Whether it’s from sending countless emails at work, binge watching and sticking in front of the TV, or during the daily commute, people spend a huge amount of their waking hours sitting—and the impact of this level of inactivity is grim.

A 2024 report in Annals of Internal Medicine found  an association between prolonged sitting and a greater risk of dying from all causes—even for those who exercised regularly. A sedentary lifestyle was also shown to boost risk for cardiovascular disease, certain cancers (breast, colon, colorectal, endometrial, and epithelial ovarian), and type 2 diabetes in adults.

Not only does this poor posture affect productivity, but research even shows poor posture is associated with low self-confidence.

However, the good news is that making a few slight modifications to your posture at the workplace can make all the difference. Keep reading to know what you can do if you’re suffering from poor posture:

 

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Related story: Better Posture, Better Back: Yoga For A Healthy Spine

 

Maintaining a Neutral Posture 

The importance of maintaining a neutral posture cannot be overstated. Neutral posture is the natural alignment of the spine from head to toe. This alignment minimises the risk of spinal compression, nerve pinching, and muscle tension often caused by slouching or hunching. Even while sitting at a desk, you can achieve a mostly neutral posture by following these tips:

  • Position your computer monitor at eye level to prevent tilting your head.
  • Pull your shoulders back and maintain a flat back against the chair.
  • Keep your feet flat on the ground without crossing ankles or legs.
  • Use a lumbar support tool to keep your upper back straight and avoid slouching.

 

Related story: Easy Moves to Fix Posture At Work

 

Setting Up Your Workspace

Proper ergonomics are essential for preventing discomfort and injury during long hours at the computer. The monitor should be an arm's length away, allowing you to read the screen comfortably without leaning forward. This setup helps keep your neck straight and your head balanced directly over your shoulders.

Arrange your desk and chair so that your shoulders remain relaxed. Position your arms and forearms at right angles, with your forearms and wrists in a straight line. Your wrists should stay in a neutral position, not bent up or down, to avoid strain. Supporting your back with a cushion can help maintain the natural curve of your spine, providing comfort and support. Sit-stand desks allow you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day, which helps reduce the risk of musculoskeletal problems associated with prolonged sitting. 

 

Related story: Manage Ankylosing Spondylitis With Physiotherapy, Live Pain-Free

 

Correcting Sitting Posture

Your chair should allow you to sit with your hips and knees at the same level, keeping your thighs parallel to the ground. This positioning helps distribute your weight evenly and reduces pressure on your lower back. Keep your feet flat on the ground or stretch your legs forward slightly to avoid cutting off circulation or causing strain.

Crossing your legs at your desk can lead to poor circulation and misaligned posture. Crossed legs put pressure on hips and spine, leading to poor posture. Sit upright with your feet on a flat surface such as the floor and move your feet frequently to increase blood flow. Regularly check your posture throughout the day to ensure your neck is straight, shoulders are relaxed, and your back is supported. 

 

Related story: Managing Fibromyalgia In The Workplace

 

Incorporating Regular Movement 

Limiting movement during desk work contributes significantly to back pain and chronic disease. Research has shown that taking regular breaks every 30 minutes can greatly mitigate the health risks associated with prolonged sitting. Studies also indicate that desk workers experiencing higher rates of low back pain can alleviate symptoms by incorporating frequent breaks from sitting into their routine. 

To mitigate the health hazards of sedentary work, it's crucial to prioritise scheduled breaks and integrate posture-improving exercises throughout the day. Activities such as stretching overhead to open up the chest and back can counteract slouching. Additionally, brisk walks around the room can enhance circulation and energy levels.

 

Related story: Desk Job Woes: How To Stop Muscle Twitching

 

Using Posture Correction Applications

Knowing what good posture looks like won’t do any good unless you actually remember to correct your posture throughout the day, which for most of us is a pretty big ask. Luckily there are many apps for that. 

With a plethora of posture correction apps available, individuals can receive timely reminders, personalised feedback, and even real-time monitoring of their posture throughout the day. These apps often leverage techniques like gentle reminders, visual cues, and even gamification to make the process more engaging and sustainable. 

 

Related story: Taking Active Breaks At Work: Productivity Fix

 

Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away

 

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