Guide to Achieving the Best Posture While Sitting on a Desk

Sitting in front of a computer has become the norm for most jobs, making people more prone to sitting problems. These negatively affect their overall health and quality of life.

Fortunately, maintaining a correct sitting posture can help you work comfortably, keep you healthy, and improve your productivity.

Here's everything you need to know to achieve the best posture for sitting at a desk.

The Importance of Proper Sitting Posture

Importance of proper sitting position

Most workplaces have workers spending more than half the day sitting on a chair.

Our bodies were built to move, yet we're stuck in sedentary environments. This minimizes our physical activities, which can cause health problems in the long run.

This is why proper sitting posture is crucial, as it helps minimize the negative aspects of our lifestyles.

Physical Health Benefits

Proper sitting posture can easily improve your health and relieve stress.

These are the most common benefits of correct posture:

  • Prevents strains, sprains, and other injuries
  • Encourages the efficient use of your muscles
  • Keeps bones and joints in proper alignment
  • Prevents fatigue in your muscles
  • Prevents abnormal spinal posture
  • Decreases stress on spinal ligaments
  • Reduces abnormal wear and tear on joint surfaces
  • Enhances appearance

Mental Health and Productivity Benefits

Having proper posture when sitting has been proven to improve self-esteem. It helps you present yourself better in front of others and results in increased confidence.

It also boosts productivity since you don't have to worry about positional pain or soreness. A pain-free head and muscles can improve your quality of life and work wonders for your mental health.

Reasons Why You're In Pain When Sitting In A Chair

Sitting for extended periods often leads to lower back pain (LBP) and an uncomfortable stiffness in your lumbar spine. The pain you’re experiencing may stem from the force your body has to endure. Essentially, your seated posture heightens the pressure within your spine’s discs. Coupled with weakened lower back muscles and insufficient metabolic exchange, it’s no wonder your body might be aching.

Feeling Uncomfortable In Office Chair

Suppose relentless discomfort plagues you. In that case, your beloved office chair may be an underlying cause, possibly due to poor lower back support or an ill-suited design. Other factors like material choice or the chair's height can equally create discomfort or exacerbate a preexisting condition. You can learn more about why you're getting tired on your desk here.

Can Office Chairs Cause Upper Back Pain?

Contrary to some beliefs, office chairs can indeed contribute to upper back discomfort. Sitting, whether on your office chair or elsewhere, is a static physical state that elevates stress, especially on your back, shoulder, arms, and legs. Office chairs may, particularly impede the battle against back pain, impose significant pressure on your back muscles and spinal discs, which can lead to pain.

The Impact of Poor Posture on Overall Health

Overall impact of poor posture

Though your chair can seem safe, sitting for long periods can cause injuries. These develop and affect your overall health in the long run.

These are some of the negative consequences of poor posture:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Hyperkyphosis
  • Anterior pelvic tilt
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Forward head posture
  • Decreased mobility
  • Poor balance
  • Bulging discs
  • Decreased athletic performance

Poor posture is also associated with an increased risk of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.

Can you correct years of bad posture?

Many of us incorrectly presume that years spent slumped in our chairs have permanently misshaped our bodies, but we assure you that making improvements to your posture is entirely achievable. Yes, even if your shoulders are already rounded and your stance is hunched.

Understand that it's never too late to reverse course and adopt a healthier posture, much like you can always find ways to improve your health, fitness, or nutrition. Make a start today, and you may well find yourself standing taller tomorrow.

Best Posture for Sitting at a Desk

How you position each body part affects your posture, from your head to your toes.

Here are some tips you can try for achieving an ergonomic sitting position.

Ideal Seating and Chair Adjustment

You need to make sure of the following:

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor
  • Your knees should be at the same height or slightly lower as your hips
  • Relax your shoulders
  • Don't cross your ankles, knees, or legs
  • Your ankles should be in front of your knees
  • Don't slump over when you sit, and keep your spine straight
  • Rest your elbows on your desk
  • Look forward so you can prevent neck pain

Correct Spine Alignment and Body Positioning

You must sit upright to properly align your spine.

These are the things you can do to ensure your spine and upper back are straight, given your sitting position:

  • Keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned.
  • Keep your knees and hips at 90 degrees.
  • Evenly distribute your weight over both hips and avoid leaning.
  • Maintain your standard lower back curve to avoid back pain.
  • Keep both feet flat.
  • Keep your forearms parallel to the floor.
  • Don't lean your head forward.
  • Keep your buttocks at the back of the chair to keep your pelvis in a neutral position.

Doing this reduces the chances of getting neck, shoulder, and back pain, especially in the long run.

Correct Posture For Back 

When we discuss the back, reinforcing a neutral body position is crucial. The spine must retain its 'S' shape - this neutral position is the strongest and most favorable for our back and abdominal core muscles. Maintaining this optimal posture can mean the difference between a healthy back and a lifetime of back pain.

Proper Placement of Monitor, Keyboard, and Mouse

Your computer monitor should always be at eye level and at arm's length.

Your computer keyboard and mouse should be 4-6 inches away from the desk's edge to give you a place to rest your wrists.

Keep your essentials close to you, including pens and electronic devices. This will help prevent you from stretching forward and rolling your shoulders too much.

There are many sitting positions for lower back pain relief, given your computer setup and whether you're on your seat or working with a standing desk. If done incorrectly, you might end up with poor posture.

Importance of Desk Height and Foot Support

Your desk setup can actually improve your posture, as the height of your desk can affect how you position your forearms, elbows, and more.

If your desk is at the appropriate height, you have fewer chances of slouching in your seat.

That's where the importance of desk height and foot support comes in. Making suitable adjustments allows your feet to level with the ground, helping straighten your back.

You should also create clearance under the desk for your knees, thighs, legs, and feet. The position of your lower body ultimately affects your upper body, especially your upper back.

Tips for Maintaining Good Posture Throughout the Day

Tips on maintaining good posture throughout the work day

There are many practical strategies for better posture. It can take time, but it will help your body perform at its best.

The first step is to create a healthier work environment with a balance between sitting and standing.

Try these tips to maintain good posture.

Regular Movement and Stretching

Not everyone can have a standing desk in the office. So the best way to get moving is to stand up every 30 to 60 minutes.

Do a few stretches and get moving to relieve muscle tightness and increase blood flow.

Some of the most common exercises you can do before you sit in your office include:

  • Doorway stretches
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Neck range of motion (flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation)
  • Lunges
  • Calf raises
  • Ankle pumps

Performing these desk exercises can help manage lower back and neck pain when you sit for a long time.

Posture-Supporting Accessories

Your setup might need an upgrade, especially if you sit for prolonged periods.

  • Ergonomic mouse and mousepad: They help prevent wrist strain while you work.
  • Lumbar roll: This will support your lumbar spine with a cushion. A budget hack entails using a rolled-up towel as a makeshift lumbar roll.
  • External mouse and keyboard: It isn't easy to work on your laptop and maintain good posture, especially with its current keyboard and trackpad position.
  • Laptop stand: This will keep your screen at eye level. The same can be said for a separate computer monitor.
  • Footstool: If your chair is too high off the ground, it's best to have this so your thighs and legs won't have to stretch to lay flat.

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Setting Reminders and Practicing Awareness

Many apps can help you stay conscious of your posture and teach you how to do it. Some of them are paid for, while others are free.

You can also set alarms to inform you when to fix your position or take a break from sitting.

You can also look into getting a posture corrector to help you adjust to your best posture faster.

How To Get In The Habit Of Sitting Up Straight

Building a new habit takes consistency and practice. Just like learning a new skill or language, the key is to repeat the desired action until it becomes second nature for your body. It's beneficial to routinely check in with your body throughout the day and adjust your posture as needed.

Consider setting regular reminders on your phone or computer to check your posture. Each time the reminder goes off, consciously correct your posture until maintaining a straight back becomes your default setting.

Choosing the Right Office Chair for Better Posture

If you're going to be sitting for long periods, you'd want a good ergonomic chair to help you feel comfortable.

Here's a quick guide on choosing the best chairs for your office.

What makes a chair ergonomically correct?

Exemplary ergonomic chairs encourage maintaining the spine's inherent 'S' shape. Such chairs assist in preventing unhealthy posture tendencies, like slumping, that can strain the spine and pelvis.

With adjustable backrests, these chairs provide optimal alignment between the chair's curvature and your spine's natural curve. To provide a comfortable yet ergonomically advantageous sitting experience, these chairs fulfill both essential ergonomics guidelines.

Essential Features to Look for

The most important features to look into are the seat height and armrest heightYour chair should help you face your computer's monitor without having to lean or stretch too much.

The chair height shouldn't be too high or too low because it can immediately affect how you sit on your chair. It should let you implement the tips we provided earlier. You should have a place to rest your forearms and elbows while you type, keeping them parallel to the floor.

Lumbar Support

In ergonomic furniture design, facilities to bolster the lower back region, often known as lumbar support, are prevalent. Using a chair that fills the space between the lumbar spine and the seat aids in maintaining the lower back's intrinsic curvature. This support encourages good posture, contributing to better spinal health and less stress on the back muscles. For additional insights, explore the guide on adding lumbar support to office chair by Desky.

Are chairs without back support better?

There's a notion circulating that backless chairs lead to better posture. When we examine the logic, it makes sense; no back means there's nothing to slouch or curve against, promoting straighter sitting. However, a lack of support can also lead to other issues, contributing to imbalance and discomfort over time. Hence, some might reason that backless chairs can aid in maintaining proper posture, but others might find them less efficient than a traditional ergonomic chair with lumbar support.

How To Know If You Need Lumbar Support

Identifying the need for lumbar support is fairly straightforward. Do you experience discomfort in your lower back after a long day at work? Does your spine lose its natural "S" shape curve when you sit? If these signs resonate with you, then investing in an ergonomic office chair could provide significant relief and promote better postural health.

Does everyone need lumbar support?

Considering our inherent biological variations, ergonomic needs tend to differ. While some may find a straight back comfortable, others might need additional spine support. However, in a desk job scenario, where sitting for long hours is unavoidable, lumbar support can be beneficial to prevent overworking the muscles surrounding the spine. So, in essence, a chair with good lumbar support may be a wise investment for most desk job employees.

Top Office Chairs for Ergonomics and Posture Support

The top chair for ergonomics can adequately support your back and encourage good postureHowever, even the best won't help with pain if you misuse it. It can only guide you in developing your posture.

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Adjusting Your Chair for Optimal Comfort

Sometimes, you'd need a few extra accessories to make you feel comfortable sitting in front of a computer. You can get a cushion or something similar to keep your posture proper and reduce your chances of getting back pain. There are also seats for shorter people, so your feet won't have to dangle above the floor when you sit on your chair.

How To Adjust Chair To Suit Ergonomic Requirements

Aligning your chair with your ergonomic needs involves more than a few simple tweaks. It starts with setting the chair height to match your desk and providing room to freely move your legs. The armrest should let your arms rest comfortably while keeping your shoulders relaxed. Keep the backrest reclined between 100 and 110 degrees to provide ample support for your lower back. Pay attention to the seat depth and ensure it allows you to sit completely back into the chair while leaving about a 2-3-finger's-width gap between the chair and the back of your knees.

Chair You Can Sit in For 8 Hours

When it comes to spending extended hours in a chair, ergonomics become essential. Ergonomic chairs such as those from our range are designed expressly to provide extensive support, particularly to your back and neck. These chairs keep discomfort at bay, even when you're seated for a full workday.

In other words, utilizing ergonomically designed office chairs can ease the strain of sitting for prolonged periods, specifically at workstations. Such chairs provide the exceptional comfort and support required to prevent neck tension after long stints of sitting.

Ergonomic Chair Adjustment Period

Although ergonomic chairs are created for comfort, your body may still need time to adjust to the new way it is supported. Initially, it could take several hours to feel the difference. The complete adjustment process into the chair's support system, enabling your muscles to strengthen effectively to support your spine, may take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Don't be surprised if you experience a slight discomfort in your muscles within these initial few days. This mild soreness is typically temporary, lasting a day or two, as your body adjusts to the new, correct posture.

Rules for Ergonomic Chairs

To experience the fullest benefits of an ergonomic chair, one must follow certain guidelines. Firstly, the chair needs to adequately support your spinal curvature.

Additionally, you should adjust the chair to a height where your feet lay flat on the ground, ensuring your thighs remain parallel with the floor. Alternatively, a footrest can assist in maintaining this posture.

If your chair includes armrests, ensure they are positioned so your arms rest comfortably on them, keeping your elbows near your body while maintaining relaxed shoulders. The overall goal is to create a seated position that promotes good posture while also relieving strain and preventing potential musculoskeletal issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have more questions about the best posture for sitting at a desk.

We've gathered the most common ones to help you better grasp their importance.

How Often Should I Take Breaks From Sitting at My Desk?

If you're working at a desk all day, taking a break every 30 to 60 minutes is best. This can help you stretch out the affected muscles and prevent poor circulation.

Stand, walk around, and stretch for approximately 3-5 minutes.

However, research shows that longer breaks of 10-15 minutes are more helpful, which can be better on slow days.

Can Posture Correctors Help Me Maintain Proper Sitting Posture?

They can help you be more aware of your posture, especially regarding your spine curving.

However, they're NOT a permanent solution.

They're only there to speed up the process and help you understand how to align your spine.

What Are Some Signs That My Desk Setup Is Affecting My Posture Negatively?

The most immediate sign is pain in various body parts, like your shoulders, legs, neck, hips, and more.

It can also affect your sleeping patterns, making you feel more tired.

Changing this bad habit is best because not doing so can damage your physical and mental health in the long run.

What if I'm Experiencing Pain Even After Following These Posture Recommendations?

If you're still experiencing pain, you can try physical therapy. Being guided by a professional can help you fix your posture.

Other persistent pain should also be consulted with your physician because other medical conditions could be causing your posture.

How Can I Incorporate Regular Movement Into My Office Routine for Better Posture?

The best way to incorporate movement is to find ways to get up during work.

You can take your lunch outdoors, volunteer for your team's coffee runs, or skip the elevator when you're going to the next floor.

You can also try little exercises to stretch your muscles as needed.

How Can I Make My Chair Better For My Back?

Health-first alterations to your chair can provide better back support. Key actions include setting the backrest forward and integrating a supportive accessory for the lower back region.

Cushions designed for lumbar support, pillows, or even a rolled-up towel can serve as effective solutions. Such interventions on an existing chair or investing in office chairs with in-built adjustable features could make your chair better for your back.

Can Ergonomic Chairs Correct Posture?

A good posture goes a long way in fostering a healthy workspace. Ergonomic chairs come into play precisely to facilitate this. Designed with posture correction, comfort, support, and health at the forefront, these chairs can aid in correcting and maintaining proper posture.

They are instrumental for professionals who spend most of their day seated at a desk. An ergonomic chair works by reinforcing good seated positions, encouraging proper alignment, and supporting natural movements.

How Do I Stop My Upper Back From Hurting At Work?

Combating upper back pain at work revolves around a number of effective strategies. Start by improving your workspace ergonomics, including adjusting your office chair's height to match your desk, and positioning your computer monitor at eye level.

Regular breaks from your desk, coupled with brief stretching sessions, could also serve to keep discomfort at bay. Consider frequently altering your sitting position and incorporating walking meetings into your schedule as part of your plan to maintain a healthy back during desk jobs.


Perfect posture isn't something that will happen overnight. However, by proactively changing your sitting position and making the necessary adjustments, your body adjusts accordingly.

Good posture when you sit and taking the time to stretch and exercise throughout the day will help you become more productive and make the most of your work day.

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