Anyone who sits at a desk for several hours a day will no doubt have noticed the effects that this simple act has on their posture. There are countless studies that tell us how unhealthy prolonged sitting is for us and some of the damage caused by bad posture is sadly irreparable. So, it’s pretty important that our work environment is comfortable and conducive to a good healthy posture.
At FRISKA, we always recommend alternating between sitting and standing while using our desks. While you should always remain active in standing mode, there is a real art to sitting at a desk properly too and most of us are definitely doing it wrong. In this guide, we endeavour to show you how to sit properly and start feeling the benefits of good desk posture.
So, how do I know if my posture is wrong?
Well, some very obvious signs that you’re not sitting at your desk properly will include back pain, headaches and unexplained muscle and joint pain. You may also develop rounded shoulders and a curved neck caused by long-term pronounced pressure on your spine. Some of the most common posture issues include:
Slouching while sitting
While incredibly comfortable at first, over time slouching in your chair can cause tremendous strain on your back muscles and the soft tissues surrounding the spine.
Standing with a flat back
If you tend to tuck your pelvis in and stoop forward while standing, creating a ‘flat back’ effect, then you could be suffering from some muscle imbalances. This is caused by incorrect prolonged sitting.
Leaning on one leg while standing
If you’ve been standing for a while, leaning on one leg can be comfortable but this puts a lot of pressure on your lower back and hips. If this becomes a habit, this can create muscle imbalances and strain in the pelvis and lower back.
If you tend to poke your chin out while sitting at a desk, you’re probably also hunching your back. Your chair could be too low, your screen could be too high or possibly both. The chin poke position puts a lot of strain on your neck and upper spine muscles.
Hunched back and curved neck
Over time, maintaining a hunched position over a keyboard or phone can convert to permanent damage to the muscles and ligaments in the upper spine.
Tell me how my posture should be
A good posture maintains perfect alignment throughout your body and this is mostly about engaging your spine. A healthy spine is a smooth S-shape with three natural curves at the top, middle and bottom of your back. The perfect posture revolves around maintaining these curves but not deepening them.
Ideally your head should be held above your shoulders, your shoulders should be above your hips and your vertebrae should appear totally vertical, when looking at your body from both the front and the back.
Do you have any handy hints for achieving the perfect posture?
Stand up tall
To achieve the perfect standing posture, imagine someone is measuring your height. Hold your head up straight and tuck in your chin. Let your shoulders roll back, straighten your knees and tuck your belly in without letting your hips stick out. Think of a piece of string being pulled upward attached to the top of your head. Perfect spine alignment!
Find the perfect chair
The best way to sit at a desk relies on the right chair posture. A good office chair should support your spine. It should be at the right height for your feet to rest flat on the floor comfortably with your thighs parallel to the floor. The armrests should be at the correct height for your shoulders to be able to relax.
Keep essentials within reach
For optimum chair posture, it’s a good idea to keep everything that you use regularly within easy reach. Don’t stretch or twist your spine to pick things up and stand up to get to those which are too far away.
Leave room underneath your desk
Whether sitting at your desk, you should have room underneath it for your legs to rest in a comfortable position. FRISKA desks are fully height-adjustable with easy-to-use quick and quiet mechanisms, so it’s very easy to set them at the height that you need to achieve perfect desk posture.
Have your screen in the right place
Screens should be directly in front of you and be an arm’s length away from your face. Ideally, your eyes should be at a point level with one third down from the top of the screen. Positioning your screen like this is not only conducive to good desk posture but is also important to maintaining your eye health.
What are the health benefits of good desk posture?
Once you’ve nailed the perfect desk and chair posture, you may start to notice a wealth of health benefits. Your body will certainly thank you and here are just some of the ways it may show its appreciation.
Improved back pain
Sitting at a desk and standing properly vastly improves back pain, as your spine muscles and ligaments are sufficiently supported and aligned. The spine is designed to sit in a ‘neutral’ position, so once it’s used to doing this, it’s much happier!
If your head or neck is often drooping forward to stare at a phone screen or documents on a desk that is too low for you, the pressure on your muscles and tissues can result in bad headaches. By holding your head high, there is less tension in this area.
There is even research that supports the idea that good posture improves your breathing quality. Slouching causes the muscles in your chest and stomach to shorten and therefore you don’t breathe in as deeply. Apparently, a good standing posture can bring in as much as 30% more oxygen.
When you slouch for long periods of time, your internal organs can definitely be affected. Your stomach, liver and intestines can become compressed, which leaves you vulnerable to digestive disorders such as IBS and constipation. Good desk posture puts everything back into alignment and in top working order again!
There’s a reason we’re told to keep our chins up in times of distress and why confidence is associated with ‘holding your head up high’. When you keep an upright, open posture, your mood and confidence is naturally boosted. It’s actually quite hard work on your muscles to maintain a slumped posture, so it’s no wonder you don’t feel too good after long-term slouching. The simple act of lifting your head and pushing your shoulders back can work wonders -give it a try.
Good desk posture = a healthier, happier you
We hope our guide to achieving the perfect desk posture has helped you discover how to re-align your spine while standing as well as how to sit at a desk properly. FRISKA desks are designed to be used both while standing and sitting, so it’s important to adjust your posture depending on how you’re using your desk.
As well as FRISKA desks being fully customisable and height-adjustable, we have a range of accessories that make it easier for you to maintain optimum desk posture. From anti-fatigue mats and boards to keep you active and aligned while standing to in-desk power outlets that enable you to keep everything close, at FRISKA we’ve got your posture in mind. Come and join our family today!