Good Sitting Posture
We’ve all heard it a thousand times…correct your posture, sit well, shoulders back and so forth!
But do you really think about this and apply it to your workplace?
Posture is a topic that I address on a daily basis. Improving your postural awareness will assist in maintaining good health to your joints and can help in managing back and pelvic pain. This is particularly critical in pregnancy as increased weight gain and hormonal influences can put your body under more strain with daily activities. A few hours of static poor alignment can have significant effects on your musculoskeletal system, not to mention your cardio-vascular system and associated co-morbidities.
Below are a few tips on achieving good sitting posture and developing awareness of correct spinal alignment.
1. Sit at the back of the chair. Your weight should be evenly distributed on the sitting bones under your backside, not on the tailbone.
2. The chair back must hug into your lower spine to provide support whilst in the above alignment. Do not relax your pelvis and spine backwards to meet the chair. If your chair cannot be adjusted to support you in an upright position, you need to add a small cushion or lumbar roll into the curve of your lower back.
3. On the couch at home, add a pillow behind your back to keep you upright or consider lying down for a rest. If you have sat all day at work, further sitting is not ideal.
4. Keep your feet flat on the ground and avoid crossing your legs.
5. Gently relax the shoulder region back as you lift the chest tall. Your head should feel comfortably balanced over the neck. Avoid poking your chin out and slouching. Re-adjusting your workplace computer monitor to eye level will assist with this. Your upper body posture cannot be corrected if your pelvis is not correctly aligned first!
6. Get up and move regularly. Every half hour stand-up at your desk and gently stretch or go for a short walk. This will assist as a reminder to correct your position again when you sit back down.
7. When getting up from sitting, move to the front of the chair first. Push up through your heels to engage the buttock and thigh muscles rather than curling forward from the lower back. Gently activate the core muscles before you move to reduce lumbar and pelvic strain upon standing.
8. Consider taking an exercise ball into work and sitting on it periodically (e.g. 10 minutes) throughout the day. This will enable you to gently stretch your lower back and improve circulation whilst reducing the accumulation of strain on your tissues. Try some gentle pelvic circles or tilts for the lower back. You might like to slowly stretch forward from the hips or sit tall and gently rotate the upper body to one side then the other to loosen the mid spine between your shoulder blades.
9. If you sit in the car regularly, check the support the car seat provides to your lower back. Most car seats encourage you to slouch, especially as you stretch your leg out to the pedals. Move the seat forward to keep a small bend in the knee whilst operating the pedals. Keep a small cushion or rolled towel in the car to use behind the lower back, maintaining weight on your sit bones. Use this lumbar support regardless of whether you are the driver or passenger in the vehicle.
Remember, awareness of good posture will get easier with practice so the earlier you begin the better! If you are experiencing musculoskeletal pain it is recommended to seek treatment early.