A guide to good posture when sitting down

Written by
Helen West

Have you ever felt stiff after sitting awkwardly in an uncomfortable chair for too long? If so, you know the impact that poor posture can have on your body.

Good posture can make you appear more confident. It might even make you look younger! But did you know that your posture also affects your overall health?

Poor posture can impede your circulation, cause chronic neck and shoulder pain, and lead to back problems.

So what exactly is 'good posture'? Read on to learn more about the common posture mistakes we all make - and how you can fix them.

What does posture mean?

Posture refers to the position you hold your body in when sitting or standing. 

When you sit and stand, there is constant pressure placed on your muscles and joints. If you don't hold yourself correctly, the pressure on certain areas is increased. This can cause pain and damage.

Picture of a woman with poor posture slouching in a chair

Poor posture can put unnecessary pressure on your body. Image: NHS.

Unfortunately, it's easy to fall into a vicious cycle. Poor posture can lead to pain, which can lead to worse posture - which leads to more pain!

Poor posture is often put down to laziness, but there are lots of other factors that affect the way you hold yourself. Genetics, accidents and injuries, and your weight can all play a part. Ill-fitting furniture and poor lumbar support while seated may make matters worse.

Why does your posture matter?

Your posture affects everything from breathing and muscle growth to your energy levels and mobility.

Slouching or slumping in your chair lead to a misalignment of the bones in your spine. This can cause vertebrae deterioration and long-term damage to your muscles and bones.

Poor posture could even leave you feeling exhausted. If your muscles and joints aren't properly aligned, the muscles in your core can't work efficiently.

But no one can maintain correct posture all the time if they are unsupported. That's why it's so important that your chair supports your body properly.

How to maintain good posture when sitting

Sitting too far forward and sitting with crossed legs are two of the most common posture mistakes many of us make.

Slumping in your chair after a long day may feel comfortable, but sitting too far forward means your back doesn't receive adequate support. Over time, this can place strain on your muscles and tissues. Sitting with your legs crossed - particularly above the knee - can reduce your blood flow and lead to poor circulation.

Graphic of blood pumping around the body

Sitting with your legs crossed can reduce the flow of blood around your body and contribute to poor circulation.

Experts recommend sitting with your feet flat on the floor, with your knees slightly lower than your hips. You don't need to sit bolt upright, but your pelvis and hips should be in line with your shoulders. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair and your weight should be equally distributed between both sides of your body (rather than sitting leaning or tilted to one side).

If you find this position hard to achieve or like to sit with your feet up, and rise and recline chair may be the solution.

How could a rise and recline chair help?

Rise and recline chairs offer a whole host of benefits. In addition to helping you sit and stand, a riser recliner will help you sit correctly while staying comfortable.

If your chair is too high, too low, or too deep, you might find that you slip forward or hunch over. This is likely to cause back pain and shoulder pain. A rise and recline chair allows you to adjust the back and base of your chair, helping you find your most comfortable sitting position and providing support exactly where you need it.

If you suffer from poor circulation, raising your feet above the level of your hips can reduce pain and swelling in your lower legs. But propping your feet up on a table or on a pile of cushions can lead to an uneven distribution of pressure. The edges can dig into your skin, causing bruising or spider veins.

What's more, using a table or a footstool leaves your knees unsupported. This can cause damage to your knee joints. A rise and recline chair allows you to raise your feet safely, making it easier for your body to pump blood back from your feet, while providing support for your joints all the way from your hips to your heels.

Want to know more?

If you'd like to know more about how a rise and recline chair can help you maintain good posture, why not visit us in store and try out a range of chairs for yourself?

You can also call us free on 0800 999 2931 to request your complimentary brochure, arrange a free, no-obligation home consultation, or book your place on our free book-a-bus service.

Read more: 3 ways you can protect yourself against osteoporosis

Read more: Our rise and recline chair motor options explained 

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