Are You Sitting Properly?

Reminding yourself to sit with good posture can be challenging, especially when you’re deeply engaged in work. Your spine is your lifeline. Give it some love and change the way you sit.

Gaiam black stoolphoto credit: gaiam

We sit almost half of our days

On average, Canadians sit about 10 hours each day. Just think about all the time you spend being sedentary — sitting at your desk, commuting, sleeping, eating, reading or relaxing on the couch. Research has shown that sitting for more than four hours a day can lead to increased risks of heart disease, back ache, diabetes, obesity, cancer and muscle degeneration.

Good posture makes a big difference

Maybe you can still hear your mother’s voice in your head telling you to sit up straight. Well, she was right all along. Good posture can help you look slimmer and feel more confident. And it has healthy advantages too. Good posture helps to decrease wear and tear on your joints and increase the flexibility of your spine. Poor posture often leads to neck, shoulder and back pain. Slouching puts pressure on your lungs and stomach, which can affect breathing, digestion and circulation. The key to good posture is having a body that can support it, in particular strong stomach and back muscles.

Tips for proper desk posture

Here are some tips to set up your workstation for good posture:
1. Make sure your work surface is the right height for you. If it’s too high or too low, it can cause your arms, shoulders and back to fatigue. It can also put stress on your forearm muscles and wrist tissues.
2. Place your screen or monitor at eye level so that your neck is straight. You may want to use a laptop stand and a wireless keyboard to make your workstation more comfortable.
3. Your back should be straight and relaxed. Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears.
4. Your elbows should be at your sides and bent at a 90-degree angle. A wrist rest may be helpful to keep your hands in line with the forearms and your wrists straight.
5. Your feet should be firmly on the floor or on a footrest, and your thighs should be roughly parallel to the floor.
6. Take a break every 30 to 45 minutes. Set an alarm to remind you to move around and change positions. Stretch your spine by standing up and raising your arms above your head.

Change the way you sit

Put us in a chair and we often slouch or resort to other less-than-ideal positions. The Balance Ball® Stool from Gaiam helps to counteract those bad habits. Not only is the seat comfortable, the instability of the dome-shaped seat causes micro-movements to aid core strength, posture and circulation. The height of the stool is adjustable, ranging from 45 to 58 centimetres (18 to 23 inches) to fit most standard desks. The stool base swivels a full 360 degrees, and the easy-glide caster wheels lock the stool into place. It’s compact and easy to put out of sight when work is done (just roll it under your desk to save space). Learn more about the Balance Ball® Stool at