Thousands of Americans work in jobs that afford them the privilege of sitting for the majority of the day. But being on your rear all day comes with some health concerns.
Unsurprisingly, the best way to counteract these issues is to get up and move — as frequently and for as long as you can.
When you do have to be in your seat, however, good posture is key to preventing the sore muscles, strained eyes, and poor circulation that frequently accompany a desk job.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, which is considered one of the world's top hospitals, there's an easy way to find a healthy sitting position. It involves four basic steps that, assuming you're reading this on a tablet, phone, or computer screen, you can try right now:
First, sit at the end of your chair (that's right, don't rely on your backrest). Let your body go into a slouching position. Now, try to sit up straight, accentuating the curve of your back as much as possible. Hold this position for a few seconds. Next, release the position a little bit — Cleveland specifies that you shouldn't move more than about 10 degrees. This should be your sitting position!
Now that you've got it, make sure the rest of your body is in the proper alignment to ensure you're not cutting off your circulation or straining any other joints.
Make sure your body weight is evenly distributed across your seat. Then, check your knee position. They should be bent at roughly a right angle, uncrossed, with your feet flat on the floor.
If you're in an office, you can adjust your chair height and desk so that you sit fairly close to your screen. Your elbows and arms should rest either on your desk or your chair's armrests, and your shoulders should be relaxed. If you're on a rolling chair, you should avoid twisting at the waist and pivot your whole body instead, the Clinic adds.
Doing this every day will help protect your joints, ligaments, bones, and muscles, and can also help you feel more energized throughout the day, since your muscles are being used more efficiently.
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