Kathryn Tollefson LMT
Customized Therapeutic Massage
Posture Series Part 2: Sitting with Ease
December 8, 2020
We all spend more time sitting than we would probably like and we’ve all been told how bad it is. And these days, with people working from home, attending meetings virtually and spending more time than ever at the computer being able to sit with proper posture is extra important.
You may have the option of a standing desk, and while this is a great alternative to sitting all day, the ideal is for the body to experience a variety of postures and movements throughout the day, including sitting, standing and moving around. If possible, try to get up and move around for at least 5 minutes each hour. This is a great opportunity to get your regular water intake.
While you are seated, there are several things you can do to make it better for your body. You can certainly spend money on fancy and expensive ergonomic solutions for your workspace, but this is NOT a necessity. You can likely make your space just as body friendly with what you already have.
To sit with ease, your feet should rest flat on the floor in front of you approximately hip width apart. If your work space does not allow your seat or worktop to adjust height, you can easily “raise the floor” by placing a foot stool or any sturdy, flat object of the needed height under your feet.
Your knees should be close to 90 degrees with the thighs parallel to the floor or with the knees very slightly below the level of the hips, but never above.
As I stated earlier, you can certainly pay for an expensive “ergonomic” chair. However, it is extremely difficult to find a curved or molded chair that is just the right fit. I recommend something with a flat and level sitting surface, that is firm but not too hard to be comfortable and preferably with an adjustable height.
Here’s the secret to making sitting effortless. Most of us are used to sitting with our weight centered on our butts and sits bones. In this position, the body needs to exert a lot of effort to sit up straight. Shift the weight slightly more forward so that the sits bones are at the back of your seated “footprint” and most of your weight is resting on the upper portion of the backs of your legs. This will put the pelvis into a more aligned position and the spine will follow suit. YOu will notice that it is very easy to sit up straight in this manner and requires little effort. It is also easier to breath and puts less strain on the back.
Your work should be straight in front of you and not to the side. Anything requiring the use of your hands, such as a keyboard, mouse or project should be at such a height that when your arms are at your sides and shoulders are relaxed, you can bend your elbows 90 degrees and be in your work area. If the work area is too high it will encourage shrugged shoulders. If it is too low it will encourage forward shoulders and a hunched upper back. If the work area is too far away, even if it is at the correct height, it will encourage forward shoulders and hunching forward.
Line of sight should be straight ahead without having to look up or down.