Mom said "Sit up straight now"

Aside from lying in bed sleeping, one of the other places you probably spend a great deal of time is sitting at your work station in your chair. You may not be thinking consciously about it, but how you sit can make all the difference in your ability to work longer, and also possible long term effects from poor sitting position.

If you are the kind of person that can sit or has to sit for many hours at a time, take a few of these pointers, as they can help you feel better, and be healthier.

Good sitting posture at your workstation means your shoulders are relaxed,not scrunched up and tight around your neck, your feet are flat on the floor, not dangling, and you can sit up straight without slouching to do your work.

Guidelines for proper sitting at the work station include finding a chair that maintains normal spinal curvature. The proper supportive chair should be adjustable, so that you can set the height to rest your feet flat on the floor. Again, keep your feet supported on the floor or on a footrest to reduce pressure on your lower back. When your feet dangle, they are increasing the pull. Some people like to sit in a slightly reclined position because it puts less stress on the back.

This is fine, although this may increase stress on the shoulders and neck when reaching for items. When you do reach for items, sit up straight first.The chair should be one taht supports your lower back. It should also have adjustable armrests that allow your elbows to stay close to your sides. If you are not comfortable with armrests, move them out of your way. Even without the arm rests, it is still important to keep your arms close to your sides . The chair should have some kind of padded, breathable seat. And finally, the seat should have at least five wheels to roll on to improve stability without tipping.

Find a computer keyboard and keyboard tray that allow comfortable typing or keying. Your keyboard should be at a height that allows your elbows to be open (bent no more than 90 degrees) and close to your sides. Think natural. Your arms and hands should fall and fit naturally. If you feel awkward, that will cause problems in the future.

Many keyboards and keyboard trays have wrist supports to help keep your wrists in a neutral, almost straight position. The pads are really only there for brief rests, and should not be heavily relied upon. They are actually not meant to be used while you are typing, you should raise your wrists when typing. When typing or using the mouse, raise your wrists and forearms slightly. If you have arm rests on your chair, you may be able to adjust them so your forearms are parallel to the floor and your wrists are neutral.

You may want to alternate between resting your wrists on the pads and raising them up. If you use a wrist pad, it’s best to rest your palm or the heel of your hand on the support, rather than your wrist. What you want to make sure you avoid is extreme bends in your wrists, and what looks or feels like unnatural or strained movements on the keyboard or mouse. This can cause repetitive stress injury. The tilt of the keyboard can be adjusted. Some people find in more comfortable if the keyboard is flat or tilted slightly down at the top. Try different tilt angles to see what is most comfortable for you.

Ultimately, what is important is that you are sitting in a natural position, and your body feels relaxed. When you sit, think for a minute about how you feel sitting there. Take notice if you feel any strains or heavy pressure on any part of your body. And really take note as to whether you are sitting up straight, or you are slouching. Slouching weakens your back and can cause unnecessary stress. Finally, make sure you are not tightening up your neck muscles due to hunched or tightened shoulders.