How do I Improve my Desk Posture?

Lauren Romano

Many people spend a large amount of time sitting at a desk, especially at an office job. How a person sits can affect the body — posture can be a factor in fatigue and can contribute to increased stress levels. Improving desk posture requires proper placement of the elbows and keeping the back straight. Head placement is important as well, as leaning the head forward can cause the rest of the body to fall into an improper position. Keeping the feet flat on the floor can help one keep the proper posture while sitting at a desk as well.

Poor desk posture can lead to eyestrain, and eyes that look tired.
Poor desk posture can lead to eyestrain, and eyes that look tired.

To improve desk posture, sit up straight and allow a space between the lower back and the chair. This curve of the back, called the lumbar area, can feel uncomfortable when posture isn't correct. Some discomfort may be alleviated by placing a small pillow or cushion in the curve of the back for extra support. Avoid leaning back, side to side or forward when in a seated position as well.

Professionals who are constantly answering calls can use a microphone headset so they don't have to be hunched over a phone.
Professionals who are constantly answering calls can use a microphone headset so they don't have to be hunched over a phone.

To prevent straining, keep the arms at a slight angle and the wrists straight while typing. Most chairs have an adjustment feature, so if the angle of the arms is too drastic, the chair can be adjusted accordingly. There should be no strain at all while typing and the arms should feel relaxed.

The curve of the back can feel uncomfortable if a chair doesn't support a person's posture properly.
The curve of the back can feel uncomfortable if a chair doesn't support a person's posture properly.

It is important to keep the head straight and facing forward in order to improve desk posture as well. Some may have the computer monitor too high or too low, which means that the head is at an upward or downward angle. Adjusting the height of the monitor until it is eye level can help keep the head in the proper position.

Workers should not sit in a twisted position.
Workers should not sit in a twisted position.

Feet placement also can be important to proper posture. Instead of having feet stretched out, crossed or spread to the sides, keep them flat on the floor. There are those who may have a problem with this especially after adjusting the chair in order to be at eye level with the computer monitor. If the feet do not touch the floor, put a book or two or a footrest, underneath the feet to create an even surface.

Getting up and moving around can help improve posture as well. Taking a short walk and stretching for a few minutes can warm up muscles, which can help prevent strain and injury. Short breaks also can help prevent the body from getting tired and subconsciously slouching from being in one spot and position for too long.

After having incorrect desk posture for an extended period of time, it may feel a bit uncomfortable at first to sit the correct way. Once it becomes a habit, however, it will feel more natural. Proper posture often is a learning process that requires an adjustment period — catching and correcting improper posture eventually will lead to proper posture being second nature.

A desk chair should support a person's posture while they work.
A desk chair should support a person's posture while they work.

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Discussion Comments

Buster29

I have really benefited from an ergonomic posture chair, but it did take some getting used to at first. I had a lumbar support office chair before that, but it didn't really solve as many problems as I had hoped. My back felt better, but I was still experiencing a lot of neck strain.

My boss is now looking into those standing office stations, but I don't think I could stand up for that long and still get my work done efficiently. Other employees might get more out of those standing desks than I would. I might try a kneeling posture chair if my current chair becomes problematic.

Cageybird

I learned the hard way that using one of those inflatable balance balls instead of a regular desk chair is not the best idea. I could never get stable enough to use my keyboard effectively, and my lower back would hurt after a few hours. I actually felt better when I used one of those kneeling posture chairs, but it was aggravating to get in and out of if I had to run an errand.

My best posture improvement tip is to raise the monitor a little higher than eye level. Raising my head just a little bit did bring other joints into better alignment.

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