Is Your Sitting Posture Correct

Step-by-step guide of improving sitting posture

- | 75 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Health & Wellness

Correct sitting posture of a woman working in office

Tell me honestly – do you know how important your sitting posture is for your health? Do YOU have a correct posture while sitting or have you ever tried to improve your posture?

I know these questions appear like minor issues but believe me, if you neglect or ignore your posture, it can cause you a lot of discomfort.

If you’re a blogger, computer professional, office worker, or anyone who has to sit at the desk all day, or whose job demands sitting for long periods, then you need to lay emphasis to your sitting posture.

That is because the way you sit directly has an impact on your spine, which if not treated well, can give you a lot of pain.

Backache and lower back pain while sitting can make you feel sick, decrease your work efficiency, and even spoil your mood.

It happened with me recently, when my back started hurting me a lot. I realized that I needed to get a better ergonomic computer chair and relearn the art of sitting properly.

As I did my research, I came across some interesting facts and things that I’d like to share with you all, as like me, I’m sure most of you must be having long sitting hours.

I’d not want you to have any problems with your sitting posture, and I hope the information in this post can help you take timely measures so that you’re free of chronic back pain due to a poor posture.

“It’s not the act of sitting for long periods that causes us pain, it’s the way we position ourselves.” ~ Esther Gokhale

Young kids sitting in poor posture

How Do You Know If You Have A Poor Posture

If you sit in any of the below mentioned positions for long periods, then you definitely need to read this post as these are the poor postures that will give you problems – if not now, then perhaps a little later:

• Sitting or slouching in a chair with your back making a “C” shape.

• Sitting on a chair in a semi-sliding position.

• Sitting on a seat that sinks in, which makes your hips at a lower level than your knees.

• Sitting crossed legged and transferring the body weight on one hip.

Do you agree that these are examples of a poor posture?

For that matter, even making extra efforts to sit up straight or forcefully arching the body to make an “S” shape – isn’t the right thing to do.

I know the last point will surprise many of you, because this is what our parents told us to do. Sit straight!

Well, they were not wrong, but for longer durations, that’s a complete NO and you need to read further to know why. 🙂

In addition, if you feel pain with numbness in your hands and legs, and feel pain in the back, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, or foot – then it’s an indication that your posture isn’t right.

What Are The Problems Of Having A Poor Posture

There can be many problems if your sitting posture isn’t right. If you have a poor posture, it may cause:

• Neck pain

• Back pain

• Repetitive motion injury

• Crack in your vertebrae or stress in the spine

• Torn muscles and muscular tension

• Impact your internal organs, like the lungs

Most of these problems relate to your spine. Therefore, before understanding your posture, you need to know more about the spine.

“One in three people suffer from lower back pain and to sit for long periods of time certainly contributes to this, as our bodies are not designed to be so sedentary.” ~ Rishi Loatey

Improve Your Posture By Understanding Your Spine

I’ll try to make the explanation as less scientific as possible, but do read through because this IS important. 🙂

Did you know that your spinal cord is an extension of your brain? Yes, it is responsible for receiving and sending messages from the brain.

In fact, the spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs through the vertebrae of the spinal column, which in turn protects it.Woman spine with natural curves for better posture

Spine, also known as the backbone, is made up of special bones or vertebrae, stacked one on top of the other. This spinal column has three natural curves, in its upper, middle, and lower parts.

It is important to know that the curve at the neck is inward or forward, the curve at the upper back is outward or backward, while the lumbar curve or the curve at the lower back is inward.

If there’s any stress or strain that reverses any of these three natural curves, you’ll experience discomfort or pain in the associated area.

Once you know these facts, it’ll help you to improve your posture and adopt a good sitting posture.

What Is A Good Sitting Posture

A posture that maintains all the natural back curves is the correct posture.

Your body should be upright against gravity and relaxed so that there is minimum strain on the supporting muscles and ligaments.

Even if you have an ergonomic computer chair, you still need to know the right way of sitting on it.

Here’s a step-by-step guide of what you need to do to have a good sitting posture.

1. When you sit on a chair, ensure that both your feet are flat on the floor, as this helps distribute the weight and balance the body. If you’re short in height, then you can consider using a foot rest.

2. Keep your knee and hip joints at right angles so that your knees are at a little lower or the same level as your hips. Having the knees at a level higher than your hips will cause your back to round up and destroy the natural curves.

3. Push your buttocks and hips back, so that they touch the back of your chair. This is very important; otherwise, you’ll be either slouching or sliding. Also, the upper and lower back should be supported with your chair’s back rest.

4. Elongate your spine to sit tall and upright with your back and neck comfortably straight and your shoulders down, back, and relaxed. This will help maintain the natural curves of the spine.

5. If your chair does not support lumbar curve or the curve at the lower back, then place a small pillow behind your lower back to keep the curve in its natural position.

6. If you don’t have a pillow, even a rolled towel will do to support your lumbar curve. With your hips pressed to the back of the chair, slightly lean forward and place the rolled towel between your back and the chair’s back, at the level of your belt-line.

7. Make sure that all three normal back curves are present while you’re sitting, especially the lumbar curve. You can check that by slipping your hand in the space between your lower back and the chair, and also make sure not to overarch as that may cause strain and spasm.

8. Distribute your body weight and balance it evenly on both hips, more specifically on the sitting or sits bones, which are part of your pelvis and just under the flesh of your butt.

9. Tilt your pelvis forward slightly supporting the lumbar curve such that you’re still sitting on your sits bones but not trying to over arch, which would dislodge you from it.

10. Neither stretch your legs forward, nor cross them, as it may obstruct your circulation and cause the hip to move, and eventually unbalance your body.

11. Place your thighs flat and parallel to the ground so that your lower legs and upper part of the body are at right angles to it.

12. Rest your elbows and forearms by the side of the body, on the chair arm rests, so that they are parallel to the ground, and the arms form a L-shape at the elbow joint. Make sure you lift your shoulders only slightly, if at all.

13. It is good to sit upright at 90 degrees for a short duration. For longer duration, angle the chair back to between 100 and 120 degrees reclining angle, to reduce the stress on the back.

14. Your head should be in line with the body and not slumping forward, so that your chin is in and ears directly over the shoulders, otherwise you’ll strain your neck.

15. Finally, sit relaxed. A correct sitting posture will require the minimum number of muscles so you’re in a most relaxed state by loosening up the rest of the muscles.

Man in good sitting posture on chair working on laptop

You can follow these steps to sit properly on any chair. Of course, if you’re working on a computer then you need to make adjustments to consider the height of the chair, arm rests, and the table.

You may also need to check that any of your body part doesn’t experience stress or strain while using the monitor, mouse, and the keyboard.

When you want to stand, first move to the front of the seat of the chair, and then rise on your legs by straightening them, instead of bending forward at the waist.

Make sure that you keep the normal curves of your back all the time, while sitting and even while standing.

In spite of taking all these measures and precautions to have a proper sitting posture, you shouldn’t sit at a stretch for long periods. Instead stand up, walk, and even do a few simple back exercises every half an hour or so.

I have a hard time with this, as I get so engrossed when I am working and I realize my mistake when my back suddenly starts hurting. That’s when I start moving around or leave work for a few minutes, but I’m going to change this bad habit. 😉

Benefits Of A Good Sitting Posture

A good sitting posture not only saves you from pain and injuries but also increases your energy and stamina, improves circulation, helps you breathe better, and improves your overall health.

Correct posture also helps in:

• Keeping your bones and joints in aligned correctly

• Preventing backache, headache, and muscular spasm

• Decreasing wear and tear of bone joint surfaces

• Preventing repetitive strain and fatigue

• Decreasing the stress on ligaments

• Making you look smart and attractive (this is the best!) 🙂

Final Words –

Remember, to ease your back, neck, and shoulder pain, you need to tilt the top of your pelvis forward, roll your shoulders back, elongate your spine, and straighten your neck.

The position of your pelvis is the key to having a balanced posture.

If you learn the art of sitting correctly in the right position, and arrange your chair and desk in the proper way then you can avoid spinal and other physical injury.

Even prolonged use of a bad chair can create too many problems for you. I hope my new ergonomic computer chair does me good!

You should practice a good sitting posture on a daily basis until it becomes a habit. The good thing is that you can improve your posture at any age!

So, if you haven’t sat in a proper posture all this while, you can always start now.

Here’s a video that can get you started with more interesting information on how to improve your sitting posture.

Dana Davis ~ Healthy Seating Posture to Reduce Back Pain ~ YouTube video

If you have back or neck pain, then exercise, acupuncture, yoga, and chiropractic can help to reduce the pain. However, if the pain persists for more than 3-4 days, you should show yourself to a doctor.

You can also read the post about neck pain by my friend Susan on – how blogging can be a pain in the neck!  😉

What I’ve written in this post is nothing new, but most of you like me, perhaps tend to get so busy in your daily life that you forget about the way you sit and realize it only once the aches and pains start, isn’t it?

Nevertheless, I hope now that you’ve read and understood this post – you’ll start following these steps to improve your posture.

I’m doing my bit; I hope you’ll do yours. 🙂

Over to You –

Did you ever experience problems due to a poor posture? What did you do to improve your sitting posture? Share in the comments.

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos

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Show Comments

75 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Umesh Singh

    2016-11-16 at 11:50 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Great post! Back pain is a major issue that people are struggling with nowadays. Especially, those who have sitting jobs.

    They sit on their chair for hours that results several types of pain and decrease their productivity.

    Right sitting posture can solve all those pains.

    Thanks for writing this informative post.

    – Umesh Singh

  2. Sarya

    2014-11-28 at 11:21 pm

    I can say that my sitting position was not correct since I always had soreness in my neck and lower back. This always happened for the past 4 years in working in front of my computer, however, last September I had slipped disc but a month after I was healed. Right then, I am more conscious of my health more than ever. I had fast recovery with the help of conservative therapy and of course my sit to stand desk. Having a proper and good posture especially at work is very important, not only that it will keep you fit and healthy, it will also help improve the quality of your work.

  3. S.Ramalingam

    2014-08-10 at 11:17 pm

    A nice article with very useful tips, especially for writers who spend long hours before their computer mates.

    I have one but very useful tip.If you are working in a computer, just take a few minutes rest every half an hour or at least every hour.

  4. Laura Probert

    2014-04-02 at 3:28 am

    Thank you for this great post about posture! You have covered one important piece that I regularly teach my clients, and that is that sitting up perfectly straight is not ideal! It can cause undue tension. Most people were brought up to believe that a super straight spine is the goal – so I loved your bullet point about sitting relaxed!

    One other area to add to your amazing list of anatomy is the myofascial system, the system of connective tissue that surrounds, supports and feeds all of our internal structures. New research is being done on the fascia that is describing it as a superhighway for light, energy and consciousness! So, for people who are struggling to maintain good healthy posture, there may be a need to look at their fascial (pronounced fashal) system to see if there are any restrictions causing pressure or compressive forces on the spine and organs. These people will have a difficult time maintaining good posture because they are literally being dragged down by the tight fascia! Thanks again for the great post!

  5. Linda Ursin

    2014-03-27 at 11:06 pm

    I’ve had a bad back since I was 15. All the doctors, ergo-therapists, physical therapists, and doctors I’ve seen through the years say you should vary your position. Sitting in the so-called correct position all day is just as bad as slouching.

    • Laura Probert

      2014-04-03 at 2:25 am

      Being one of those physical therapists, I would agree with you Linda. The biggest problem in a sedentary job is the one position all day. It can be as perfect as possible, and you will still have issues. People are getting creative these days at the workplace though….I have seen more standing work stations, and I even saw a desk like thing where the seated portion is a bicycle! I think we know we shouldn’t sit all day, great posture or not and solutions like these will hopefully continue to be created so that they are easy, affordable options!

      • Linda Ursin

        2014-04-03 at 2:57 am

        They’re really good at adjusting to the individual here too, if you ask for it. My employer did all they could to keep me working, but in the end it wasn’t enough.

        • Laura Probert

          2014-04-03 at 3:06 am

          You are so lucky that you have a responsive employer. And yes, in the end, if you have had the situation long enough, the bad habits your body gets into might require extra care. I hope you were able to find some good help!

          • Linda Ursin

            2014-04-03 at 2:50 pm

            Yes. My situation started when I was born; I’m hypermoobile. The reason I couldn’t keep working was the wear and tear on my joints. I should probably have stopped working a lot earlier. I do have help now, but for the first 10 years of my chronic pain, I had to fight to get painkillers, and I was without for most of the time.

            • Laura Probert

              2014-04-04 at 6:53 am

              I am familiar with that situation. I have worked with a client who had Ehler’s Danlos syndrome – basically the same hypermobility. It is very debilitating.

  6. Nwosu Desmond

    2013-10-20 at 4:40 pm

    I have been battling with back pain for too long as a result of bad sitting posture from my school days, I hardly go through any week without a massage else I won’t be able to sit properly.

    I have even consulted a doctor who told me to always assume the right sitting position especially now that I spend a lot of time blogging, so i had to buy a correct office chair and I ensure to sit on it everytime I blog. The pain is not much more as before but it is still there always surfacing from time to time and this gives me a lot of concern especially when I will start aging, I fear it will always be there.

    Reading this post has really added to my knowledge of the best ways to it so as not to erupt it more since it gradually resetting. My thoracic region seems to be the most affected region, so when am not sitting properly I am lying down to help it relax.

    This is indeed an important lesson especially for all bloggers and all who spend most of their time sitting. Thanks for sharing such an amazing article.

  7. Malika Bourne

    2013-10-07 at 6:19 am

    Hi Harleena, you caught me slouching. I was enjoying the pillow behind my back as I was reclining in a chair I should have been sitting u in.
    You made good points.
    I have a great computer chair, but I have to keep a cushion behind my back. The cushion got moved and I had back spasms for weeks.

    Thanks for the reminder. You just saved me a lot of pain that was my own fault.

  8. Carolyn

    2013-09-30 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Wow, I had no idea that I was doing this wrong. You’d think something as simple as sitting would be, well, simple but it’s not.

    You’re right, this is vitally important. I spend a lot of my life sitting, between the computer and the car. I thought I was doing it right but now I know I’m not.

    I do emphasize proper posture to my girls, but now I can give them much better guidance.

    Thanks, Harleena!

  9. Ellen M. Gregg

    2013-09-30 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you, Harleena!

    I’m behind on my blog reading because of last week being especially busy, but the timing of me reading this is spot-on, so perhaps the universe had ulterior motives beyond that busyness. 😉 I’m aware of the importance of correct posture, but I am not good about practicing it. I’m determined to get better, and your post will help me do that.

    Thank you! 🙂

  10. Christy Garrett

    2013-09-29 at 3:06 am

    I know that I don’t always have the best posture and it doesn’t help the issues that I already have. Thank you for sharing this important information. #backsaftey is a must.

  11. Nate Leung

    2013-09-28 at 10:47 am

    Hello Harleena,

    I know the importance of having good posture while sitting. The problem is that good posture isn’t always comfortable. I guess as humans we don’t realize the bad until we start to realize that the posture hurts us in the long run. When that happens, we develop bad habits and before you know it we start to have back problems. Having good posture is just like anything else, we need to form good habits and we will benefit from it in the long run. Very informative Harleena.

    Thank you for sharing!

  12. Adesanmi Adedotun

    2013-09-28 at 3:56 am

    Madam Harleena,

    Gotten another fact today, sitting properly from my end was not really encouraging, I sit the way I like and how I feel I should but I later can to realized am hurting myself. As a matter of fact my sitting posture this time was not really encouraging but knowledge is a potential power, reading this today added more to my sitting experience. Thanks for sharing ma!

  13. Deedra

    2013-09-28 at 12:23 am

    I catch myself slouching when I get deep into a book. I slowly just slump over, and I hate it. This was a great post and I learned a few new things and will start applying them today.

  14. Maketta

    2013-09-28 at 12:06 am

    Hello Harleena,

    This is not the first time I have visited your blog but it is the first time I have commented. 🙂

    Thank you for writing this very informative and helpful blog post. As bloggers we do spend a lot of time sitting in a chair. I do admit that many times I get tired of sitting and have to do some stretching. I can’t say that I have the best posture in the world but I have been doing yoga for a health ailment and I hope that it will also help with my posture.

    This is something that anyone who sits at a computer for long periods of time can really benefit from this information.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  15. Dragan Palla

    2013-09-27 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Harlenna,

    I can confess this topic is something rarely seen on blogs but very very important. Something to think about indeed.

    As for me, I don’t have any problems with my back, neck…(yet) but I don’t have my sitting posture correct either.

    After your post I think I’m gonna change that for sure.

    Thanks for the share.


    • Harleena Singh

      2013-09-28 at 4:19 pm

      Welcome to the blog Dragan – good to have you over 🙂

      I agree with you there, or perhaps our sitting posture isn’t something that we give much importance because we often take it for granted, and that includes me too.

      You are lucky to have no problems presently, and I hope you never have to face them also. I think if you are careful about your posture, you can keep problems at bay later as you age. Hope this post helps you sit better 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views 🙂

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