Bad posture at work can have serious consequences on our health, not to mention performance at work. Poor posture leads to poor breathing, poor circulation, eye fatigue, neck strains and of course back pain. All this also leads to lowered productivity and even time off from work.

Here are some tips to help improve your posture at the office:

Maintain a straight, neutral spine

Poor posture in front of the computer is probably the most prevalent mistake people make when working. Slouching or hunching causes compression on the spinal discs, muscle tension, and poor circulation. The damage to the spinal cord could be permanent in some cases and lead to chronic back pain.

A lot of times, we slouch without realizing it. Adjusting your chair to the correct height and ensuring your chair is the right size for you can encourage you to maintain a neutral spine. If you are petite, a bigger seat will cause you to lean forward and move away from the backrest, making you more likely to slouch.

Rest your hands and feet properly

Another way we add unnecessary stress to our muscles and bones is by not supporting our hands, arms, and feet properly. Ideally, you should rest your feet flat on the ground and rest your hands on the desk.

Resting your hands at the edge of the desk means your arms are dangling off the edge of the desk, which puts a lot of strain on your neck and shoulder muscles. So, rest your forearms on the desk.

Try to keep all your major joints at right angles. For example, your elbows form right angles to your forearms, and your knees are right angles to your feet resting on the ground.

Keep your work at a comfortable distance

Similar to slouching, if your laptop or documents are too far away from you, you’d be more likely to crane your neck and lean over. Ideally, your laptop or reading material should be at eye-level.

If you have to go through books or documents, you can get a stand for it so that your reading material stays at eye level. Keeping them flat on a desk will make you lean forward to read it, and you’re more likely to round your neck or slouch your back.

Invest in ergonomic furniture

This one might seem obvious, but ergonomic furniture makes a huge difference in your posture. If possible, get a chair and desk that are both adjustable in height. For a chair, a good backrest and armrests are very important.

In some chairs, you can adjust the angle of the backrest or they are built with memory foam that follows the natural curve of your spine. The backrest should be at an angle of over 90 degrees, ideally around 110 degrees, though this depends on each individual.

Exercise and stretch when you can

No matter how good your posture is, sitting down for hours can still be painful. Stretching and moving about from time to time will ease this pain. Perform exercises such as shoulder, wrist and chest stretch.

For a shoulder stretch, extend your arms as high as possible above your head. Ease stress on your spine by doing spinal twist stretches, which is basically twisting your trunk clockwise and anticlockwise while seated. You could also do leg stretches by reaching down to your toes as far as you can while keeping your legs straight.

Clean and declutter your desk

Maintaining an organized workstation not only looks nicer, but it can also encourage good posture. Keep your stationery or work materials close to you, so that it minimizes you having to reach over to access them. Keep things you don’t need further away from you.

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