At BarBend, we’re constantly on the quest to improve our bodies, strength, and knowledge of strength sports. Unfortunately, much of what we do is spent sitting behind computers, so like many, we’re constantly experimenting with new ways to spend our work days without losing progress in the gym.
Sitting for long periods of time isn’t only unhealthy, but it can do a number on our posture. Poor posture can negatively impact an athlete’s performance in the gym in more ways than getting into proper positioning for compound movements. And not every company has the resources to give employees stand up desks, which makes maintaining healthy posture even tougher.
If you sit for long periods of time, and don’t have access to a stand up desk, then check out these seated posture tips below to better your desk ergonomics.
Health Posture Tips for Desk Workers
Eye Gaze and Space From Screen
The way we fixate our eyes can play a big part in our head’s position and posture. When a screen is lower than our line of vision, then we’re forced to arch and flex the neck, which can result in a craning neck position. A forward head posture can lead to neck pain, tight traps, and weak neck muscles. All of these can negatively impact an athlete’s performance.
- Eye Gaze Path: Fixate your eyes on a screens that sit directly in front of your eyes, or at a slightly downward/upward position. This will decrease the time you spend looking down with a forward, or flexed neck posture.
- Space Between the Screen: An easy way to gauge the appropriate distance between yourself and the computer screen is by extending your arm. This is often 20-30″ and will help you avoid eye strain and leaning forward to get closer to your screen.
- 20-20-20 Rule: This rule requires you to stare at something away from your screen 20′ feet away for 20-seconds every 20-minutes. Research has suggested this to be a viable tactic to combat eye strain and asthenopia.
- Screen Brightness: A screen should be adequately bright with ambient light, so your time spent squinting is reduced.
- Try Palming: This is a method that requires you to turn away from your screen and place both of your palms over your eyes with the fingers crossed for a minute. Doing so is supposed to aid in eye strain.
Chair Position & Joint Angles
Your chair should have a few adjustments to support joint angles that won’t continually put you in compromising postures. For example, a chair shouldn’t be too high where the legs are hanging downward, or too low where the hips are overly flexed. There are a couple chair checkpoints and joint angles to perform to ensure you’re sitting in the best way possible.
- Height: An adjustable chair can be a great way to alter heights slightly to avoid putting the hips in the same positioning for extended periods. Ideally, you want your thighs to sit parallel with the floor.
- Arm Rests: Your arm rests should support the arms and create a 90 degree angle with the arms. If your chair doesn’t have arm rests, then position the arms so they’re laying at the height of the desk.
- Back of the Chair: Stagger out times when you sit erect with tall posture using no support. For situations when you’re using the back of the chair, sit all the way back in the seat and ensure the lumbar curvature is supported.
- Feet Flat: Maintain a flat foot posture on the ground, or angle them slightly up, while remaining flat.
- Shoulders Back: Keep the shoulders relaxed and back, while thinking tall chest. Try to avoid tensing up or tightening the upper back for extended amounts of time.
Kinesiology Taping for Posture
Another easy way to promote good posture is with the light use of kinesiology tape. The easiest way to tape the body for better posture is by placing one piece over the scapulas. Doing this will provide the mind with a stimulus to pull the scapulas back and maintain an upright chest throughout the day, aka a healthy posture.
Sometimes sitting for extended periods of time is inevitable, especially for those working sedentary jobs. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the negatives that come with sitting and poor postures. The above tips are only a few ways you can work with equipment at your desk to support proper posture.