Your sitting posture at your desk is highly important. It is especially true if you work a standard 9-5 job sitting at your desk for multiple hours. Even if you only spend a few hours per week at a desk, it is still important to know how to sit at a desk, find the best sitting position, and maintain good posture.
sitting at a desk with good posture on my laptop feeling all professional like my three tabs aren’t spotify, amazon, and minesweeper.
— Anna Gilstrap (@anna_gilstrap31) August 21, 2018
Three Areas to Consider When Looking at Your Sitting Position
Check Your Back
Your back is one of the most sensitive areas when sitting in an office chair. It is surprising how many people do not have good posture. For example, some people slouch, putting a great strain on their back and cause lower back problems. There are a few simple rules to consider to give your back and spine the support it requires.
- Sit upright with your back straight.
- Your lower back should curve to the shape of the back of the chair.
- Your back should be fully supported, including your lower back.
The most common issue here is that people do not have lumbar support for their lower back. They may sit slightly slouched, which results in a gap between their back and the chair. Try to avoid this as it can cause body issues and pain.
You may find that you need to place a pillow behind your lower back to bridge this gap. Don’t be afraid to use one! Alternatively, you can also buy detachable back supports for this same purpose.
trying to sit up straight all day at my desk to cure my backache.. it's so annoying
— Ceri (@cezaweza) July 20, 2010
Be Aware Of How You Position Your Arms
Many people also position their arms incorrectly when sat at a desk. This can actually lead to a loss of muscle strength in your arms. It can also cause pain and lead to back problems.
Ideally, your arms should be at a 90-degree angle to your elbow and upper and lower arm. Also, your forearms should be fully resting on your desk when using a keyboard and mouse. From here, your elbows should then be at a 90-degree angle. Also, your ergonomic keyboard should be close enough so that your fingers can hover over it – like playing the piano.
You should also have a comfortable resting position for your arms when you are not typing.
Don’t be afraid to adjust the height and angle of the armrests until you find a comfortable position with the above ergonomics.
I spend around 5-7 hours drawing a day, and glad to report I figured out how to do it without straining my wrist. Make sure ya do those anti-carpal tunnel syndrome stretches, and get a chair at the right height so your arms rest on the desk at neutral position!
— Mahyuddin Zin – Commissions: OPEN (@MayuZane) October 3, 2019
Look at Your Legs and Feet
One of the most important factors for your legs and feet is your sitting position. You should avoid sitting with crossed legs or at a funny angle – with one leg underneath the other, for example.
This can actually reduce blood flow to your legs and feet and cause circulation problems. Ideally, you should position your thighs at a 90-degree angle from your body. Also, keep your feet flat on the floor. If your legs are too short to do this, consider buying a footrest that can raise the angle of your feet.
Why is Your Desk Sitting Posture Important?
If you do not sit at your desk properly, you can risk serious injury. Over time, it can cause a myriad of issues, both physical and mental. The following are the main issues with poor posture and a lack of lumbar support at your desk.
Stiff Neck and Shoulders
If your monitor is at the wrong angle, this can cause strain in your neck and shoulders. Continually looking down or at an odd angle can lead to shoulder problems and tightness in your neck.
Suffer from a stiff neck & back, tension headaches, and leg cramps? Might be how you sit at your desk? Good posture is incredibly important
— Massage Littleton (@MassageLittleto) April 7, 2014
Weak Leg Muscles
Secondly, sitting at desks for long periods can decrease strength in your leg muscles. This is why it is important to angle your legs correctly and refrain from crossing your legs.
One of the main issues with poor posture is back pain. As discussed above, if your back is not properly cushioned, this can lead to back pain, spinal stress, and even more serious issues like back sprains and kyphosis.
Poor Mental Health
Not sitting properly at your desk can also be detrimental to your mental health. If you are uncomfortable and in pain whilst working, this can lead to depression and anxiety.
Ways to Improve Your Workstation
Let’s take a look at your workstation. You would be surprised how many people do not have the proper setup for their computer, keyboard, monitor, and desk.
Finally found the time to fix my workstation setup and build a wooden stand for the cintiq… my spine is grateful pic.twitter.com/0M1gFV5fBx
— Giuseppe Longo (@Mis_BUG) November 6, 2017
Change Monitor Placement
Your monitor screen should be at eye level. You should not have to angle your neck or strain your eyes to look at the screen. Hopefully, you have a monitor that has an adjustable option for the height and angle.
Fix Keyboard Position
Look at your keyboard. This should be positioned in such a way that your entire forearm can rest on the desk without any part of it hanging off. Full support for your forearms is important when typing on a computer for long periods.
Buy New Equipment
If you cannot achieve any of these positions in your office, you may need to invest in new equipment. You can easily find a range of ergonomic office equipment that can help with your sitting posture. For example, you can get adjustable monitors and even keyboards that have wrist rests and are angled to fit the curve of your forearms.
Desk Posture FAQs
Can a Footrest Help Improve Your Posture?
Yes! If your legs are short, a footrest is a fantastic item to have at your workstation. It can support your feet and ensure that your legs are directly in front of your chair and at the correct angle.
Writerly indulgence: a squishy footrest for beneath my desk! Reverses to become a rocker. What’s your favorite gadget for making desk work more comfortable? #WritingCommunity pic.twitter.com/gpurNsmdsc
— Sadira Stone (@SadiraStone) May 19, 2021
Is It Worth Having a Combination Standing/Sitting Desk?
If you struggle to sit comfortably for long periods, then it’s potentially worth it. Having a computer desk that you can stand at can help keep your muscles active and reduce back pain.
Sit Comfortably and Correctly
It is important to look after your body, especially if you sit at a desk for long periods. Make sure you understand how to sit at a desk properly, and also take a look at your equipment and see if any of it needs upgrading for more ergonomic models.
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Paul is the type of person who never met a problem he couldn’t fix. He can always be found tinkering with something in his house, even if it isn’t broken! His tips and tricks are often shared on our site. He’s the one you call when something breaks because he has been known to improvise fixes for everything from leaky faucets to malfunctioning dryers.