If your job requires you to sit for long periods at a time, you should pay attention to your posture. Slouching, crossing your legs or otherwise sitting in an unnatural position can take a toll on your physical health. With poor posture, you may experience back pain, fatigue and other related problems. The good news is that you can perfect your posture when sitting by following a few simple steps.
Plant Booth Feet on the Floor
You should plant your feet on the floor when sitting to promote good posture. In other words, don't place your feet on a stool or elsewhere. Both your feet should be planted equally apart on the floor.
Support Your Lower Back
Without support for your lower back, you may experience back pain when sitting for long periods at a time. Research shows roughly 80% of adults in the United States will experience lower back pain during their lifetime. While countless factors can affect your risk of developing lower back pain, poor sitting posture ranks as one of the most influential. To protect against lower back pain, you need to support the lower "lumbar" region of your back. Most ergonomic office chairs are designed with a cushioned pad in the lower back area for this very reason.
Another important tip to improve your posture when sitting is to look forward. While this may sound like common sense, many office workers unknowingly tilt their head up or down when sitting for long periods at a time. If your computer monitor is too high or too low, for example, you may unknowingly tilt your head up or down, respectively. Over time, this unnatural posture can strain your neck, resulting in headache, fatigue and muscle pain. By looking forward at all times, you are less likely to experience problems such as these.
Assuming your chair has them -- which it should -- you should use the armrests when sitting. Without armrests, your arms will likely grow tired, especially when sitting for up to eight hours a day.
Of course, it's important to take breaks by standing frequently. Even if you use the correct posture when sitting, it can still take a toll on your physical health. Research shows that there's nearly three times as much pressure on the spine when sitting as opposed to standing. Therefore, you should try to get into the habit of standing for at least 10 minutes every half-hour.