How To Keep Your Posture In Check When Working At A Desk All Day

Even before the pandemic, plenty of people in the world worked at desks each day. But thanks to COVID, more people than ever work at their desks. While it's unclear how sitting at a desk each and every day will affect people's posture in the future, positive changes in the present day can't hurt. If you notice that your neck is feeling a little tight or your back is more hunched, then take that as a sign to fix your posture throughout the day.

It sounds like a simple thing, but posture actually contributes to more than just the way you're sitting. According to the Lompoc Medical Center, the right posture actually improves your overall health by giving you higher lung capacity and energy levels. That's a whole lot of benefit from just sitting up straighter. 

It turns out that there are three major things you can do to help your posture while working at a desk. Depending on how you'd like to go about making at-work changes, you can either get the right desk setup, do some stretches every now and then, or get some fancy products to help you. There are some major perks of each choice.

Get the right desk setup

If you're looking to make a change in your posture at work, the first thing you need to learn is how you should actually be sitting. As it turns out, where your items on your desk are positioned is just as important as how you're sitting. In fact, the two go completely hand-in-hand.

According to the Mayo Clinic, your computer should be just an arm's-length away, your wrists should be straight as you type, and you should adjust your chair so that your knees are about level with your hips. The correlation between a good desk setup and good posture is called "workstation ergonomics," and it makes all the difference in having a comfortable workday. 

"Posture has physical, mental, and emotional components, and poor posture is a reflection of how we respond to the world around us," Lindsay Newitter, who teaches how to hold and move the body without tension, tells Allure. Bottom line: How you hold yourself is a lot more important than just looking great. It's all about feeling great, too. 

Do some stretches

If you're looking for a way to keep your posture in check, then stretches are the perfect option for you. It turns out that stretching throughout the day at your desk isn't only great for posture, either. Just five minutes of stretching can reduce fatigue as well (via Society Insurance). Physically and mentally feeling better at work? Yes, please.

According to Healthline, one of the best desk stretches to do is the upper body and arm stretch. All you have to do is sit up straight, stretch your arms into the air with your palms turned upwards, and reach towards the sky. Hold for 30 seconds, and you'll instantly feel a bit better.

If neck pain is getting to you, Alliance Wellness suggests sitting up straight and tilting your neck to one side and then the other. For a deeper stretch, the publication says to look down while you stretch from one side to another, but always make sure to let gravity do the work so you're not over-stretching.

Buy some products to help

Of course, there is one last option to keeping your posture in check that doesn't involve you doing anything different throughout your day: buying fancy products that do the work for you. It's an easy way to get assistance throughout the day and impress your co-workers with your new setup — even if your co-worker is just your dog.

If you're really looking to go all-out with your desk setup, New York Magazine suggests using a height-adjustable standing desk. "Sitting for prolonged periods of time in front of a computer can cause significant upper-back and neck pain," chiropractor David Perna tells the publication. "A standing position often puts less stress on the lower back and helps a person achieve a more upright position." You could also opt for a computer stand that raises the computer up to a height that's more eye-level for you. Many of those options are budget-friendly.

There's no excuse for not checking in on your posture throughout the work day. Whether you're doing it with free stretches or investing in a new desk setup, you really can't go wrong with a little posture TLC.