Australians struggle with back pain.
We take daily walks and try the suggestions of our doctors, but we still deal with discomfort and pain.
Back problems can have a major effect on our quality of life.
If you've struggled with back discomfort, you may be willing to try anything to help. But did you know that sometimes sitting posture can have a major impact on our overall wellness?
Some sufferers find that focusing on sitting posture relieves their back issues significantly.
Let us help. Follow these 10 tips and you may be feeling calm and relaxed even in that tired old office chair.
Here's how you can have better sitting posture at work:
1. Assess Your Posture
Before you spend more money on doctors and painkillers it may be time to stop and assess your posture in general. Paying attention to how you stand and sit can give you valuable insight into your overall health issues.
Simple tricks like watching if your feet are on the floor when you sit in your office chair could go a long way.
Ideally, your back will be slightly curved with your spine with each vertebra stacked on top of one another. Your tailbone will be naturally tilted out and your neck will be in line with your back.
Watch for tightness in shoulders, a tilting neck, and awkward hand and elbow placement.
Above all else, watch for pain and strain. This may not present while you are at work.
With many sitting posture issues, you may only notice the discomfort after a period of time.
If there is any discomfort at all, you may want to change the way you approach sitting at work.
2. Watch How You Sit
Are you sitting with a leg underneath you while you work? Maybe you are dangling your feet or hunching over?
If you are sitting cross-legged for long periods of time that could signal trouble as well.
But improving your sitting posture may be more difficult than knowing how you frequently sit. Your body may be making adjustments for the minor issues in your office setting.
If you find yourself frequently sitting in improper sitting posture it may be a warning sign that your chair, glasses, or office environment are off.
Shorter people may need to adjust their chairs or place a box under their chair to get both feet on the floor. Taller people may have to adjust the height of their desk to sit properly.
Watch how you sit. But don't just make adjustments to your posture.
Observing your sitting style at work may give you insight into other issues you need to address.
3. Check Your Glasses
One of the sneakiest culprits is as plain as the nose on your face. Or rather, it may be the eyeglasses that are resting on the nose on your face!
Experts say that Australians aren't checking their eyes enough. Many of us just don't want to schedule an eye exam.
And with the rise of discount eyeglasses online we may settle for an old prescription that is out of date to save money on lenses and frames.
But your sitting posture is directly affected by your prescription. You may be hunching over or turtling your neck out to see the screen properly.
And with all that screen time your eyes may be tired and straining during the day.
Make sure you check your eyeglass prescription to have the best posture in the office.
4. Get Up And Move
Most of us know that sitting for extended periods of time can be a problem. Experts say that extended time in a chair can lead to health complications far beyond poor sitting posture.
You may even have an increased risk of death from all that time spent sitting down!
A great rule of thumb is 8 minutes standing up for every 20 minutes sitting down. Spend the other 2 minutes moving around and stretching and your whole body will thank you.
5. Use Props
Even if you can't choose your office chair at work you can make the most of it. If you are having trouble achieving your ideal posture you may want to try some props.
Many of us use lumbar pillows at work. Before you invest, you may want to try a rolled up towel on your lower back.
6. Stop Chasing Mice
The placement of your keyboard and mouse will have a big impact on how you sit in your office chair. If you place these key items too far away, you could be hunching over and straining too much to get to them.
The resulting tension in your shoulders and spine could take hours to release.
Small adjustments like moving your keyboard and mouse might have your back feeling much better at the end of the day. With these smaller items, it's often difficult to feel the strain until later.
We stand up to go home and nearly groan in agony.
Remember, your elbows should be at a 90-degree angle!
7. Monitor Your Monitor
How far away is your monitor? Reach out and see if you can touch it.
You should be able to press a finger on the screen. You also may need to adjust the height and tilt of your monitor along with your chair and posture.
Finally, make sure you think about the monitor settings. The size of the font and the brightness and contrast of the screen could be affecting your sight.
Some workers may even want to invest in a glare protector so their eyes aren't straining late in the day.
With all that screen time you are spending at work, you need to check your monitor.
Easy for us to say right? How are you supposed to relax at work?
With deadlines looming and the boss waiting for your latest report, relaxing is often the last thing on your mind.
But relaxing in terms of posture is very important. When adjusting sitting posture, too many people make the mistake of focusing on the way they sit.
They start out to improve their sitting posture only to make it worse. Relax.
Your best sitting posture should feel comfortable and relaxed. If you are tensing muscles to curve your spine or grind your elbows into place, these are signals that something is off.
Make sure you don't make a bad problem worse. Relax your muscles and let your chair and desk do the work.
9. Check Your Chair
We know what you're thinking: You'd like to steal your boss's chair.
But before you start committing office theft you may just want to check your own chair. One of the blessings of contemporary office furniture is that chairs are adjustable.
Unfortunately, many people set their chairs improperly for sitting posture. They treat their chairs like a chaise lounge on the patio instead of an office chair.
Or, they never change the settings at all. Having your armrests and chair height at proper levels can significantly improve the way you sit.
10. Practice Your Sitting Posture At Home
Having the right posture when you sit isn't something you can turn off and on. People need to practice sitting correctly at all times in order to get the best benefit from their posture.
Plus, with more Australians working from home, there are more opportunities to make at-home workspaces as comfortable as possible.
Many people think if they could only work from home they would be much more comfortable. But this often isn't the case.
Unfortunately, people work with their laptop computers in their laps at home. This causes a significant strain on our necks and back by hunching over to see the screen.
And you need to practice all of the above skills at home. It's too easy to put a foot up on the table or strain in an uncomfortable chair to get your work done.
As Australians increasingly work from home they need to make a comfortable home office environment. Did you know that it's projected that half a million Australians could work from home by 2026?
It's more important than ever to practice good posture at home. You may even want to buy a great chair to make the workday more enjoyable.
Make Every Moment Better
Australians spend so much time at work! But then we make a huge mistake when we get home.
We fail to make the most of our hours with family and friends. And what's worse, we fail to relax.
There's nothing worse than spending all day in an awful office chair only to come home and make the problem worse.
You may not get to choose where you sit at the office. But you can relax in style when you get home.
Too many Australians have to turn to medications like codeine, oxycodone, and paracetamol just to relieve the pain caused by improper posture at work.
Don't take your work home with you! Ditch those medications if you can, and invest in a massage chair.
A massage chair won't just make your hours at home more relaxing. You'll be fresh and ready to sit at work the next day.
Your sitting posture will thank you!