Proper Sitting Posture
Proper Sitting Posture
Why is proper sitting posture so important?
People are spending more time sitting today than ever before. The average person sits from seven to ten hours a day. When people sit with poor posture they can develop back, hip, and leg pain that can decrease productivity and cause multiple visits to a Physical Therapist in Toronto. One way to combat this is to sit with a good posture. A proper sitting position can help improve posture overall and prevent some chronic injuries.
How can I correct my sitting posture?
The first part of developing good sitting posture is choosing the right chair. When choosing a seat, there should be enough support for the lower back to maintain the natural curves of the spine. The chair also needs to be tall enough to keep the feet flat on the floor and the knees at the level of the hips. The ideal chair is different for each person. If possible, people should try to pick out their own chair that offers enough lumbar support and is a proper height.
Once seated, use these steps to ensure an aligned and proper sitting posture:
- Sit up straight and avoid hunching over. A chair with adequate lumbar support will help in this step. Sitting upright will prevent any pelvic tilting that comes from long-term slouching or hunching that can cause leg and hip pain.
- Keep both feet planted on the floor and place the ankles in front of the knees. When the feet are excessively in front or behind the knees for an extended period, then the pelvis can be pulled out of position that can throw the lower body out of alignment.
- Avoid crossing the legs. This maneuver adds pressure to the legs that will prevent blood pumping out of the lower body, which can cause varicose veins. Crossing the legs also forces them into a position that can impinge on some of the nerves coming from the spine1.
- Relax the shoulders and keep the forearms parallel to the ground. Keeping the shoulders relaxed prevents someone from leaning forward and adding extra strain on their neck. The shoulders should be in their natural position of being back and not raised to keep the upper body in proper alignment. Adjust the armrests in the chair so the forearms are parallel to the ground. This arm position will keep the upper half of the body vertical and relaxed while preventing excessive flexion of the neck and back
- Avoid sitting for an extended period. The Canadian Chiropractic Association recommends taking frequent breaks from sitting to stand up and stretch2. People should not sit for more than thirty minutes at a time. Constantly getting up and moving will prevent incorrect sitting positions and avoid chronic injuries that stem from bad posture.
Proper Sitting Posture References
- Snijders, C.J., Hermans, P. F., Kleinrensink, G.J., “Functional aspects of cross-legged sitting with special attention to piriformis muscles and sacroiliac joints.” Clinical Biomechanics 2006. 21(2). 116-21
- At Work (Canadian Chiropractic Association CCA Association chiropratique canadienne) http://www.chiropractic.ca/resources/at-work/