A person seated in an upright manner with crossed legs could be described as a confident or a very poised person, while a person that likes to collapse into the slouched position can sometimes be seen as the shy one. Whether your sitting position affects the way people see you or not, it is definitely important to your body structure and health.
A lot of times, people make the mistake of collapsing into a bad posture while sitting. This can trigger discomfort, pains and strains. Sitting for a short time may not really cause us so much worry, but we really need to pay attention to the way we sit and ensure that it is optimal if we have to sit for long durations e.g. while studying.
Good posturing involves training your body to adopt the position where there it presents the least strain on the muscles, ligaments and other important structures of the body.
A good posture:
• Helps to keep the joints in the proper alignment so that the muscles are properly placed.
• Helps to decrease the stress on the ligaments that are stabilizing the joints.
• Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in the wrong positions.
• Prevents aches and discomfort.
• Prevents strain and overuse syndromes.
• Promotes a better appearance.
What are some of the possible ways to improve your sitting posture?
• Choose a comfortable seat; a seat that is not hard but well padded.
• Ensure that the seat is upright, that way your back can comfortably rest on it.
• Keep your back completely aligned to the chair; your shoulders and hips in one vertical line.
• Ensure that you maintain the normal physiological curves of the spine. You can use a back support to attain this, especially if your chair is not well inclined.
• Make sure that the room is well lit, so you don’t have to lean forward just in an attempt to make out what you have to read.
• If you are using a computer, avoid having the computer backed up against a bright light or window, otherwise it might make the screen look washed out and difficult to see, forcing one to lean forward.
• Make sure that the computer or book is placed right in front of you and not to the side or tilted.
• Ensure that the space underneath your desk is enough for you to extend and flex your knees to a 900 position freely.
• Adjust your chair to the level of your hips in such a way that your feet can completely rest on the floor. Do not leave them hanging, if need be, use a foot rest.
• Give some room between the front of the chair and the posterior part of your knee to avoid compression.
• Keep your shoulders relaxed with your forearms resting on the desk , this will reduce a lot of tension around the neck and the shoulder region.
• Do not sit with legs crossed for a long time. Crossing the legs can help to change the position for a while, but ensure to keep the duration very short.
• If you have to sit down for very long durations, incorporate some periodic rest periods within i.e. a time when you can stand up and stretch your legs for a while.
Learning the correct sitting posture is not only important to ease the discomfort we feel when we have to sit for long periods, it also helps to prevent some potential complications. You may not feel any pain immediately, but sooner or later, you will. In the long term, incorporating a habit of being wrongly postured will trigger some kind of compensation by the body and this could lead to muscle weakness in some parts and muscle stiffness in some.
If you have to work jobs that require you sitting for long, you definitely need to take on a few notes on the best ways to sit. Repetitive wrong posturing can lead to structural deformities, be warned.
When next you need to just jump on a seat, ask yourself, “How should I sit?”
Photo Credit: imgarcade.com
Janyl Benyl is a certified physiotherapist and health consultant. She is currently studying for a masters in public health in the UK. JB as she is fondly called, is a lady with many talents. You can find her on her personal blog where she shares most of her interests – www.janylbenylshares.com