Why Sitting Reclined Is Better Than Sitting Straight

Why Sitting Reclined Is Better Than Sitting Straight

From a young age, we have always been told by our parents to sit up straight. However, studies have shown that what our parents have been telling us might not be beneficial to our spine. In fact, it might actually be the leading cause of our back pains and aches.

Back pain is one of the most common types of workplace injury. In fact, it typically is a result of poor posture, which can be facilitated or inhibited by the chair we use. A well-designed ergonomic chair for the office can improve your overall experience.

Over the years, many things have been shared regarding the proper ergonomic positioning of office chairs. For example, sitting in an upright position with one’s shoulders relaxed and loose and with one’s feet flat on the ground. However, workplace ergonomics is more than just a trendy keyword. Constant research has been conducted to understand proper ergonomics and find solutions that can improve our comfort and function. It all starts with changing our sitting upright mindset.

Advances in ergonomic research

Modern research over the last couple of years revealed that simply observing the right ergonomic postures is not sufficient. One study had a patient hold three positions. The first is a slouching position. We all know that hunching over is bad as it places unnecessary stress on the spine, shoulders, and back, leading to pains and aches. The second is the conventional upright position. The last is a reclined position.

Consistently, the research revealed that the best sitting position for prolonged periods is a reclined position at about 135 degrees. Gravity pulls you downwards. Hence, when you sit in an upright position, gravity pulls you straight down along your spine, resulting in significant stress on your spine and compressing your vertebra. Sitting at a reclined angle stretches your back muscles gently without straining them, alleviating spinal compressions and boosting your comfort. That being said, sitting at a 135-degree recline is probably too low to do work productively. Hence, we recommend that you work at a slight angle, rather than upright completely, and switch to a 135-degree recline when you want to take a break.

Tips for ergonomic reclining

If you are going to sit in a reclined position, you still have to observe beneficial biomechanical practices of ergonomics to prevent the development of pains and aches.

The first is keeping your feet flat on the floor. You want to keep the height of your chair low enough that your feet can be placed flat on the floor and your knees slightly below waist level. Be sure not to stretch your leg out, as it significantly eliminates postural benefits. Also, avoid crossing your legs. Doing so introduces biomechanical stresses on your lower spine and pelvis. Crossing your legs results in the unnatural twisting of your hips, resulting in misalignments with your shoulders and spine.

In addition, you should avoid using a leg rest or footstool unless you cannot reach the floor despite lowering your seat height. This is because, while they may appear to be comfortable, reclining with a leg rest or footstool will place significant stress on your knees, as well as the back of your calves and thighs.

Secondly, ensure adequate support for your body. Reclining at a 135-degree angle can be achieved easily by most ergonomic chairs. That being said, it is still vital to ensure adequate support, especially in your lower back. When looking for ergonomic chairs, ensure that they include either a lumbar pad or an adjustable support pillow that offers lower back support and the natural curve of your spine when you recline.

On top of that, ensure that you use a headrest. If you have to lift or tilt your head to see your monitor, you are not in the ideal posture for reclining. Using a headrest allows for better support to your neck and head. You can also consider using a monitor arm to allow for better adjustment of your monitor and improve your viewing experience.

Thirdly, observe where your arms are positioned. You can utilise a keyboard tray that allows you to position your keyboard to hip level, enabling you to use your keyboard without having to stretch to reach it. Doing so relieves any unnecessary stress on your shoulders and arms, which makes your reclined position harder.

Conclusion

The ideal sitting posture is a reclined posture at a 135-degree angle. An upright sitting posture, while better than slouching forward, puts too much stress on your back, causing spinal compressions that lead to possible dysfunction in the future. That being said, while sitting reclined is the ideal ergonomic posture, movement is still your best friend ergonomically. Switching between sitting at 135 degrees and standing up, combining it with light stretches hourly, will be more beneficial than prolonged sitting, even at a reclined position.

That being said, TakeAseat offers some of the best standing desks and ergonomic chairs in Singapore, allowing you to switch between sitting at 135 degrees and standing up seamlessly and effectively. Head down to our Woodlands and Ubi furniture shop, and our friendly and experienced team will help you find the best-suited ergonomic product.