Did you know that slouching is the body language equivalent of dressing scruffy to work? It’s a common misconception that slumping actually helps the body relax and the muscles unwind, whereas what it’s actually doing is signaling a lack of engagement, energy or keenness. When you spend an average 6-7 hours per day on a desk, in front of a computer, practically following the same routine every day it’s a legitimate tendency for your body to shift and find a more comfortable position every few hours. However, before diving into details about correct postures, let’s understand why it’s important to sit properly.
So basically, there’s a whole list of benefits that come with a correct posture:
- It keeps your bones and joints aligned so that the muscles end up being used properly.
- Sitting correctly actually goes a long way in preventing arthritis, by reducing the abnormal chafing of joints.
- It decreases the stress on your ligaments, which hold together the spinal joints.
- It prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- It ensures an effective use of your muscles, which means you exert less energy and thereby increases your productivity, and prevents fatigue.
- It prevents backache and muscular pain. (Read about Strethes to do at work)
- A good posture leads to a good stance, which contribute to a more refined appearance overall.
Think of it as a checklist towards not only a healthier lifestyle but also being more impressive at the workplace, because ultimately the respect of your peers goes a long way. Now without getting too caught up in the details of limb placement and the perfect angle for your neck, we’re identifying the four positions of posture hell, which our bodies tend to naturally assume due to various reasons.
The Sitting Duck
Perched at the edge of your seat, curled forward, ready to pack up and run home any second.This indicates an elevated level of anxiety and unfocused energy, giving off the impression that you’re restless and not interested in your work.
A simple solution is you use a foot and back rest to tilt your body into an upright and ergonomically correct pose.
The Flaccid P***s
Leaned back into your chair with legs splayed out in the front.As relaxing as this position is, it’s actually very damaging for your back – the perfect alignment involves sitting right on top of your hips and keeping your spine straight – and gives off a very nonchalant vibe in general. Over-splaying is worse than over-sharing; it shows a lack of enthusiasm and self-confidence.
Use a footrest to train yourself out of stretching your legs and protect your back from pain through slumping.
The Ball of Meh
A curved spine with slumped shoulders, and a droopy or over-arched neck.The biggest disadvantage of this position is that it makes you drowsy and drastically impairs productivity and attention to detail. When one is generally in this position the curvature of the spine tends to put a lot of weight on your tailbone, which can be very harmful in the long run in the form of inflammation.
For every inch you hold your head forward, you’re adding 10 pounds of pressure on your spine. Let’s say you’re leaning into your monitor by just two inches, that’s 20 extra pounds that your back and spinal column have to endure.
Sit straight and align your back to the back of your chair in a way that the upper back is in contact and sharing most of the weight-load with the hips, while the lower back maintains its natural curve and is not in contact with the chair.
The Superfluous Cupper
Sitting, in any position, leaning on the elbow with a hand cupping your chin. You could be in the process of reading a high-priority email or ideating for an important project, you might just be pretending to look busy while reading an e-book at work, either way it gives off the impression that you’re bored as hell. It looks like you can’t keep your eyes open and you need a whole arm to keep your head propped up, like you partied too hard last night, and you don’t have enough energy to concentrate. Eventually, sitting in unproductive postures tends to deviate the mind as well.
An alternative is leaning forward onto your elbows without compromising on your back (keep it straight!) and using the table to maintain both your posture and concentration.
If you find yourself assuming any of these positions more often than normal, it might be ideal to step back and take an assessment of your workstation. Identify problem areas that are hampering your space, sometimes a rearrangement of personal items or your desk could go a long way in creating a comfortable and ergonomic environment. Keep the essentials within arm’s reach but also make sure that you have to get up and walk a little should you need something, even five seconds away from your computer screen is enough to rest the eyes and give your mind a breather. Another option is to analyze your work attire, find the perfect balance between uptight and comfortable, even with underwear! If certain fabrics and styles are soft and easy, leave them for the weekends, and opt for a snug fit – there are lesser chances of you slacking off if your balls are upright in briefs. Take a break and concentrate on your breathing, clear your mind, hydrate, and then get back to your task list, it goes a long way in coming up with creative ideas. However, what’s most important is to find what works best for you as individual preferences and responses to change tend to differ.
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