Who would have thought there was a wrong way to sit in an office chair? I guess there is a wrong way to do just about anything, but when it becomes detrimental to your health, that is when a real problem arises. In fact, sitting is harder on your back than standing. Studies have actually proven that sitting in a properly adjusted chair that encourages motion reduces cumulative trauma disorders to nerves, tendons, and the neuromuscular system. I, of all people, am extremely guilty of sitting in my office chair the wrong way, which is a very bad habit I am working on fixing. In order to motivate myself to break the habit, I did some research on why it is detrimental to sit incorrectly. I have come to notice myself and others sitting in 3 common positions that are actually harmful to your health.
The first is my favorite, which is sitting cross legged / indian style while sitting in my chair. Overtime, I have learned that knee problems can develop from sitting in this position, as comfortable as it. Especially if one sits in this position over the span of many years. Although I am still getting back support from my chair, I am losing blood flow to my legs which can cause them to cramp up. This tends to happen a lot, forcing me to switch to another bad position.
Normally I then switch to putting my feet on a footrest. Now, I know you are thinking, what is wrong with using a footrest? Normally footrests are very effective … except when you are using another chair as a footrest. Footrests are supposed to make it so that your knees are at about a 90 degree angle because this position promotes the best circulation. My legs are completely straight when I use my chair / footrest which promotes very bad circulation.
The last bad position I tend to sit in, is with my back far away from my chair, slumped over on my desk. While this does help me read my computer monitor better, it also is causing cumulative trauma to my back. The best solution for this, is increasing the size of the font on the screen you are reading or getting a larger monitor with a monitor arm that will allow you to adjust how close the computer is to your face.
After reviewing all my bad habits, clearly it is time to break them and start sitting better in my office chair. Some tips I learned to prevent myself from sitting incorrectly are get up and move, keep the body in alignment while sitting in an office chair, choose ergonomic office chairs when sitting, and use posture friendly props. It is best to take a break from sitting in an office chair every half an hour or so for a few minutes in order to stretch, stand, or walk. When sitting in an office chair, take advantage of the chairs features. Also if you are sitting in an ergonomic office chair, you are able to adjust the back for lumbar support. Footrests, portable lumbar back supports, or even a small pillow can be used while sitting in an office chair. And of course, posture is important! The proper way to sit in a chair is to keep both feet on the ground, sitting up straight, with your back firmly rested against the seat. Follow this advice and you will be sitting better in no time.