Modern man spends much at of his working life in a chair in front of a computer. Prolonged periods of time in such a position can take its toll on our bodies. If you happen to be one of these people who have to sit down all day as part of your job, then you can lower your risk of back pain and other problems by improving your posture while working at a desk. Here are some tips to get you started.
The first thing you should do is to chose a good chair. Many believe that a chair is a chair and that one is okay as long as it allows you to rest down in it. The reality is that the chair should ideally be customized for your body. This starts with the back of the chair. Small of the back and your sacrum should be able to touch the back of the chair. The back of the chair should provide strong support up and down your spine.
The seat itself should be the right height for your body, not too shallow or too deep. Your legs should touch the floor when fully extended. At the same time the knees should come right up to the edge of the chair so that your legs get maximum support from the chair. If the chair meets these criterion, sitting in the proper position should not be a problem. You should firmly plant both feet under the floor under your knees. Resist the urge to scoot your feet under the chair as most people do. What you want to have is your body weight evenly spread between your two feet in front and two sit bones in back. This will put the least amount of net stress on your joints.
Your shoulders should be relaxed and dropped down. The elbows should be drop down to the side as well. Ideally your elbow should be at a right angle when to the side while typing on your keyboard. The forearm should point parallel to the floor where it touches the keyboard. The wrist should be straight with no bend in it. This position makes it easy to switch back and forth to using the mouse without providing undue isometric stress on your shoulders and arms. This stress can cause a good amount of discomfort and pain later in the day from sitting with the keyboard too high as most people do.
For this reason, you do not want to put the keyboard on the desk. Purchase a keyboard tray and fasten it to the underside of the desk. You can then lower it to the exact perfect level for your body. Ideally, the tray should be wide enough to incorporate a space for the mouse. Additionally you want to set your screen at a height where you are naturally looking at the center of the screen or slightly below it. If it is too low, that will put too much strain on the neck and shoulders.
Improving your posture while working at a desk should help you work in comfort. Simply put in place the suggestions above, and your back will thank you for it.