The Best Sitting Positions to Improve Your Posture

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Good posture is being aware of your ideal body alignment. It’s more than just sitting up straight; it involves training your body to put minimal strain on your muscles, ligaments, and joints. These days, many people spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, working in front of a computer. With this kind of lifestyle, adopting the correct sitting positions is more important than ever. You should ask yourself how to sit with good posture. To maintain a healthy back, all you need to do is follow a few simple steps for the best sitting position.

Why is Posture Important?

Sitting is the new smoking – it’s a phrase that’s increasingly being thrown around, and for good reason. Research shows physical activity is necessary to prevent serious conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Yet while technology has made our lives easier, it has got us strapped to our desks. Studies show office workers are sedentary roughly 80% of the time.1 That’s why it’s important to sit with good posture at work.

It’s not practical to quit a desk job just to be active. But you can do one thing – maintain good posture while sitting at a desk. You can also improve posture while sleeping. Back health and posture are connected. If you improve sitting posture, you can avoid back problems.

Good posture is important to keep your musculoskeletal system in alignment. It makes you more flexible and less prone to injury, as well as reduce your risk of falling. Bad posture, on the other hand, can lead to back, shoulder, and neck pain.

What is Good Posture?

Good posture is holding the correct position while standing, sitting, or lying down. It keeps your body in alignment and ensures the proper use of your muscles. Over time, it reduces wear and tear and prevents joint pain. Sitting in the correct position reduces the risk of injuries and prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal curvatures.

three images show how the correct posture should be when standing

To improve your sitting position, follow a few simple guidelines. Every time you sit down, go over these steps and settle your body into the best sitting position. Once you are mindful of a good posture for a few weeks, improving your posture will become second nature to you. You’ll start sitting in the correct position without thinking about it. You’ll even sit in bed with good posture.

Best Sitting Position

At this point, you’re probably wondering how to fix posture while sitting. To make it easy for you to have good posture when sitting, we’ve broken it down into 4 simple steps.

Sit Upright

If you’re wondering how to improve posture while sitting, the single most important thing is sitting up straight with your shoulders pushed back. Your buttocks should touch the base of the backrest. Use a lumbar cushion if your back doesn’t touch the back of your chair. With this sitting position, you transfer your body weight from your pelvis to the chair, which helps prevent back pain. Avoid leaning forward or back as this can arch and tighten your lower back, leading to muscle strain. Try rocking back and forth and pause in the center. This is the sitting position you should maintain so that all normal curves in your spine are maintained.

Position your lower body

image showing a seated person with correct posture

Correctly positioning your hips and knees keeps your lower body in alignment. Your knees should make a 90-degree angle. They should be at roughly the same level as your hips. There should be a small gap between the chair and the back of your knees. Avoid crossing your knees. Your hips should be at about 120 degrees, which distributes your body weight equally.

Keep your feet flat on the floor

Ideally, the height of your chair should allow you to comfortably place your feet flat on the floor. However, if they don’t reach the floor, a footstool can support your feet and fix your sitting posture. Keep your ankles in front of your knees. To have a good posture while sitting, don’t cross your legs at the ankles.

Position your upper body

To sit in a chair with good posture, your shoulders should be relaxed. Correct posture while sitting means you can look forward without straining your neck. If you want to read more about this, we’ve got an article on how to fix forward head posture. Keep your forearms parallel to the floor. Your elbows should make an L-shape between the upper arm and forearm.

If you are maintaining good posture while sitting on the sofa watching TV and you practice good sitting positions at work, yet you still suffer from back or neck pain, you might need to get medical advice. To achieve the correct posture while sitting, get your posture medically reviewed and learn some exercises to improve posture. Perhaps you could benefit from a posture corrector device.

Correct Posture When Sitting at a Computer

Many people spend their working hours sitting for long periods. They’re glued to their computer screen, often with poor posture. Here are some tips to maintain good posture at your workstation.

  • Adjust your chair so that your wrists and forearms are parallel to the floor.
  • The top of your screen should be at eye level and the monitor should stand an arm’s length away. A poorly positioned screen can lead to neck pain.
  • Keep your keyboard straight in front of you with a gap of 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) in front of the keyboard to rest your wrists.
  • Keep your mouse close by. An out-of-reach mouse pad can lead to awkward bending and wrist strain.
  • Make your screen glare-free. Your monitor should not reflect any lights because this can lead to eye strain.
  • Avoid using bifocals for computer work. Bifocals require you to move your head up and down and this can lead to neck pain.
  • Keep frequently used objects within easy reach, such as a pen or phone. This helps prevent strains and sprains from stretching or twisting to reach for something.
  • If you use the phone extensively, consider getting a headset instead of a handset.

Sitting Positions to Avoid

Even as you work on a good posture while sitting, it’s important to be aware of the positions to avoid. Some positions that lead to poor posture include:

a woman sitting in front of the computer with a correct posture

  • Sitting slumped over
  • Sitting without lumbar support
  • Sitting on a hard office chair that does not support the thighs and hips
  • Crossing the knees and ankles
  • Dangling the feet without support
  • Sitting in one position for too long without regular breaks
  • Straining the neck with a poorly positioned computer monitor

If you’re looking for more information on bad posture, take a look at our article on the time it takes to fix bad posture.

Other Ways to Improve Posture

Besides being mindful of your position while sitting, you can improve your posture by staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. Excess body weight is bad for your health and bad for your posture. Strong core muscles support your back, so it’s a good idea to work on them. Also, certain types of posture-related exercises, such as yoga and Tai-Chi, can help you become aware of body positions. You can maintain good posture by taking frequent breaks when you’re working long hours at a desk. Take a 5-minute break, stretch, and go for a short walk to get rid of muscle tension. Last but not least, wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes for support and balance.


  1. Sedentary office work – BMC Public Health

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