When it comes to balancing your comfort and overall health in the office, your posture is one of the most important links. We sit at our desks for at least 8 hours a day, every single workday. Many individuals don’t think much of it, but simple inactivity can start to have harmful and lasting effects on a person’s health. Poor posture can be the root cause of certain problems, and it’s vital that you know exactly what could result from it so that you can act to prevent it. These are some of the health risks of sitting with bad posture at work and what you can do to keep these conditions and symptoms at bay.
Common Health Risks of Poor Posture
The body isn’t meant to maintain a slouched-over position for most of the day. In fact, your system functions more effectively when you’re up and moving around. The same is true for your overall flexibility and mobility. As you move, you’re continually stretching your muscles and increasing how far they can flex. So when you limit yourself to a certain way of sitting, you lose much of your natural flexibility and range of motion over time. This can make moving outside your range less comfortable, and it can even make it much easier for you to sustain injuries. Torn muscles and ligaments are especially common in these cases, limiting your ability to navigate the world around you.
Aches and Pains
With flexibility deterioration can also come frequent aches and pains. People who sustain poor posture throughout their workdays are more likely to experience sharp pains in their necks, shoulders, backs, and legs. As the muscles stiffen, they lose their ability to support these key areas of the body. With this additional strain comes joint and ligament damage, which is what ultimately develops into these aches.
Sitting on ergonomically designed office chairs such as the ones we offer at Rework can greatly help with this. With more support for your back and shoulders, maintaining the correct posture and staving off pain are much easier.
Strength reduction is something to consider as well. As we mentioned, sitting in a bad posture disengages your muscles, so they’re doing less to support your back and shoulders. On the other hand, sitting upright with your back slightly curved keeps the muscles working to support the rest of your body. Failing to keep your muscles engaged, especially for an eight-hour workday, can lead to a reduction in their strength.
Significant weight gain is another common health risk of sitting with bad posture at work. Keeping your muscles active allows you to digest and burn fat and sugar most effectively. So slouching over your desk all day inhibits your body’s ability to process and remove these materials after you eat. This can contribute to considerable weight gain in a short period of time and make it even more difficult for you to remain active—both during and after work hours. People with poor posture habits also often exhibit discomfort in their digestive tracts, resulting in heartburn and acid reflux.
Headaches and Fatigue
Believe it or not, the way you sit in your desk chair can even contribute to how often you experience headaches and fatigue. These symptoms originate from pain in the neck region, which strains the joints and radiates outward, collecting in the bundle of nerves at the base of the head. When this occurs, it can affect your ability to focus and get your work done. In severe cases, this can also lead to fatigue and make it that much more difficult for you to stay comfortable and on task throughout the day.
Higher Stress Levels
When physical pain combines with these other symptoms, your average level of stress may increase, too. When you aren’t comfortable, focusing and maintaining standards for your work become more difficult. As the work piles up or fails to meet expectations, you may experience lapses in your mental health in the form of stress—all from something as seemingly minor as how you sit in our desk chair each day.
The Proper Workplace Sitting Posture
Now that you have a fundamental understanding of what bad posture can do to the body over time, it’s important to know the position you should have. For starters, you’ll want to make sure that you adjust the chair height so that your feet are flat against the floor. This keeps your knees either in line or slightly below the line of your hips. Shift your hips back in the chair and straighten your back, making sure your shoulders are directly below your ears. Keep your neck straight or slightly dipped as you look ahead at your work.
Positioning your arms correctly is also very important. With your elbows at a 90-degree angle, make sure your forearms and wrists stay straight as you type away at your keyboard. This is the best position for reducing strain in your fingers and limiting your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome later in your career. Though this position might seem unnatural at first, this is the best way to keep all areas of your body engaged while you’re seated. Maintaining this posture is the key to reducing your risk of developing the above symptoms and ensuring your time at work is comfortable and productive.
Ergonomic chairs can also make this adjustment a little more comfortable by providing your back with the right amount of support to keep you upright. If you’re looking for a way to promote better posture among your team at work, the equipment you use is a great place to start. At Rework, we’re dedicated to not only crafting the most productive areas possible for your team to work but also making their workspaces ergonomic and comfortable. We offer a series of refurbished task chairs on sale that encourage proper sitting posture while fitting right in with your business’s style and office aesthetic. Our professional planning and design team can also help with implementing additional ergonomic efforts into your office’s core design. Contact us today to gather more information and get the process started.