Most Americans sit in an office chair all day. In fact, about 86% sit an average 13 hours per day! A good number of people realize that sitting all day is not ideal, but it is unavoidable in order to pay the bills and get from point A to point B. Since we spend most of our day sitting, it is imperative that we sit correctly to avoid back and neck pain as well as other issues. We need to consider how we sit at a desk, behind the wheel of a car, and on the couch in order to make the best of the situation.
For starters, the type of chair that you select is very important. It should support the curvature of your spine and be at about a 100-110 reclined angle so that your upper and lower back are both supported. When sitting, your hips should go as far back in the chair as possible and your feet should rest on the floor or a footrest so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Ideally, your knees should be equal to or lower than your hips and your shoulders should always be relaxed.
Your keyboard and mouse should be easy to reach and at the same level. The monitor should be directly in front of you, with the top of the screen around eye level or 2-3 inches above eye level to keep your neck relaxed. Those who wear bifocals should lower the screen. Additionally, the screen should be centered above the monitor. Your hands should be at the level of your elbows or slightly, your wrists should be straight and your arms should be close to your body. After adjusting your chair to make sure your wrists and arms are correct, put your feet flat on the floor. If your feet do not reach the floor, use a footrest or anything nearby to keep your feet flat. Make sure there is room for your legs under the desk and try to keep this area free from clutter.
Many people use the computer and type at the same time while craning their neck to use the phone. If you talk on the phone, use a headset or put the phone on speaker to avoid neck issues. Also, be careful of the glare coming from windows or actual light. It is important to take frequent breaks to get up and stretch about every 20-30 minutes. Try to rest and refocus your eyes to avoid fatigue by looking away from the computer monitor into the distance or covering them for 5-10 seconds.
It is important to consider how you sit in every situation, not just behind a desk. Slouching on a couch, crossing your legs, or sitting incorrectly in a car can all have a negative impact. When driving, the steering wheel should be as low as possible and you should hold it at 9 am and 3 pm instead of 10 am and 2 pm to help relax your shoulder. Also, try to keep your wrists straight while driving. Your knees should be in line with your hips, the seat should be reclined 100-110 degrees, and you should be able to reach the pedals without straining. Your neck should rest on the neck rest and you should try not to slouch. On a couch, if your couch is deep and you are slouching, put a small pillow behind your lower back.
Since we can’t help sitting too much throughout the day, let’s make the best of a bad situation. Correct your posture and pay attention. This will help you feel better and be more productive.