Ways to improve your chair posture
15th November 2022
Bad posture can impact people of all ages, but the issue really starts to become more apparent in older age. In the modern world, where so many of us spend a lot of time sitting down, whether it’s in front of the TV or hunched over a computer screen or phone, utilising the correct chair posture is more important than ever. Some of us have little choice but to spend a lot of the day seated due to limited mobility, such as those with stair lifts at home. If you have noticed your own bad posture recently – perhaps you are becoming more hunched or are having back issues – now is the time to make a few changes. This guide explores the importance of good chair posture and offers some tips and advice for improving it. Just remember, if you have any pain or concerns about mobility or health, then make sure you see your doctor or a health specialist ahead of taking any action.
Why is correct chair posture important?
Correct chair-sitting posture is important for the health of our bodies in a number of ways. When you have good posture, the key parts of your body are aligned and supported, such as your bones and joints, preventing unnecessary damage that can lead to conditions like arthritis.
Good chair posture, and a healthy posture, in general, can also reduce aches and pains, especially when it comes to the back and neck, as the way you sit has a big impact on the spine.
The specialist physiotherapists at Physiotherapy London, share this insight into good posture: “Posture is the position in which you hold your body up against gravity while standing or sitting. Good posture involves training the right muscles to work in the right way, getting them to work properly while standing, walking or sitting. When you have good posture, there is less strain on some of the sensitive connective tissue through your body.”
What happens when you have bad posture?
Due to how much we sit down each day, especially in older age, it can be easy to fall into poor chair posture. This results in a number of negative ramifications for our health. For example, poor chair posture can lead to aches and pains due to added pressure on your muscles. Slouching can result in digestive issues and make it more difficult to breathe. There is also a higher risk of falling due to poor chair posture, as your posture impacts your balance and stability.
Posture correction specialist, Ameet Bhakta, helps those with poor posture at Health Through Posture. He shares the following about how poor posture can affect you: “You could feel unhappy with how you look or be in pain. Certain parts of your body might be compensating, making them more prone to injury, wear and tear, and impingement. Often, the ‘unexplained’ source of many health conditions is that your body is out of alignment.”
What does bad chair posture look like?
Certain sitting positions are worse than others when it comes to posture and can have adverse effects. For example, sitting in a slumped position or bending the spine to one side are examples of poor chair sitting posture. Bad chair posture also includes keeping your legs and knees crossed, not supporting your feet on the floor, straining your neck while looking at a screen, and sitting in one position for too long.
READ ALSO: How to improve your circulation in older age
How to sit in a chair with good posture?
What does good chair posture look like? There are a number of things to remember when looking to improve your chair posture, such as supporting your back and keeping your feet on the ground. Try to remember the below points when sitting down.
Make sure your back is supported
One of the key things to remember when it comes to good chair posture is keeping your back supported. Many people have the tendency to hunch or curl up in order to get comfortable, but this can be bad for your body. You can do this by keeping the curve of your spine supported by the back of the chair. Not all chairs are as supportive as others, however, so you might want to look into chair posture support like lumbar cushions or even a special ergonomic chair.
Posturite are experts in ergonomic chairs for helping with sitting posture and have this tip when looking to choose a new seat: “Choose a seat with a forward tilt of 5°-15°, as this will automatically set your hips higher than your knees, encouraging you into a more upright position.”
Make sure your limbs are aligned
Keeping your body aligned correctly is key to a healthy posture so when you are sitting, make sure that your limbs are where they are supposed to be. With your arms relaxed at your side, your legs directly underneath you, and space between the back of your knees and the edge of the chair, you can help to create a healthier sitting position.
Make sure your head is balanced
Keeping your head level with what you are looking at is an important component of correct chair posture. For example, if you are watching TV or looking at a computer, try to ensure that the device is at eye level, so you are not straining your neck upwards or downwards. Failing to do so can put stress on your spine and lead to health issues.
Make sure your feet are on the ground
By ensuring that both of your feet are planted firmly on the ground when you are sitting, you can start to improve your chair posture and keep your body aligned in the process. While it might be tempting to cross your legs or curl them up, by keeping your feet flat on the ground you can gain the necessary support for stabilising your lower back and improving your circulation.
READ ALSO: Top tips for improving your balance
Chair posture exercises for seniors
There are a number of great exercises that you can do in order to improve your chair posture. The good news is that you can do them from a sitting position so those with limited mobility can benefit from the results. Discover a few chair posture exercises for seniors below:
Shoulder shrugs and rolls
This is a very simple exercise that simply involves moving your shoulders in order to reset your posture. All you have to do is shrug your shoulders up to your ears and back down a number of times. Then you can try rolling your shoulders backwards which will help those who are looking down a lot at a screen or desk.
The neck is an area that often feels the brunt of poor posture so giving it a gentle stretch each day can help to look after it and improve your sitting position.
- Place your hands at your side
- Tilt your head to the right while pushing downwards through your left hand
- Swap sides and repeat the exercise by tilting your head to the left and pushing through your right hand
- Next, turn your head to the right and drop your chin to your shoulder
- Turn your head to the left and drop your chin to your left shoulder
- Recentre your head and drop your chin to your chest
- Tilt your head slowly backwards and look at the ceiling
Get up and move around
Sitting down for too long isn’t good for your body and can cause posture issues. So, if you are able and can do so safely, try and get up from your chair and move around a bit. By getting up every 30 minutes or so, even just to get a drink or to look out the window, you give your body a chance to realign and stretch out.
How long does it take to improve posture?
Improving your posture in the long term doesn’t happen overnight. It all depends on how committed you are to making the changes and practising good posture. Even once you know the best practices, it can be easy to slip into old habits. However, by reminding yourself each day of what good posture looks like and consistently trying to do the right things, your posture will start to improve. The key is to stay patient and correct yourself when you start to sit poorly.
Hopefully, this guide to correct chair posture has been helpful. Follow the steps and advice above and your body will certainly thank you.
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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.