Posture and Ergonomics

Sitting Posture

Let’s take a look at posture. This is an especially important talking point in these pandemic days of work-from home, and altered work conditions even in the work-place. We’re seeing a lot of patients coming to us with posture-related muscle / joint fatigue and soreness – which is always best addressed at source.

There is a lot of misinformation, and fear in relation to posture; but ultimately there is no such thing as a frankly “wrong posture”; or a “right posture” for that matter. What is most important is that you don’t maintain any one posture for too long. Having said that, there are variations of “relatively better posture” and “relatively worse posture” that people can use.

The better the posture the better the bones and joints are aligned, reducing fatigue, strain and overuse. More to the point though, the better the posture, the longer you can hold that one position before fatiguing, straining or overusing your muscles, ligaments and tendons. You can have textbook perfect posture… and still develop fatigue and pain after a couple of hours; or posture to make any therapist flinch… and be perfectly happy there… for a few minutes.

Standing POsture

The best posture is your next posture; and keeping mobile is what your muscles and joints really want – it’s what they’re for after all!
As a rule of thumb, we recommend against holding any one posture for more than 10 minutes at a time. Where that’s not practical (long car journey, board meeting etc) then take a break every hour; and use that break to return mobility to your joints (as opposed to sitting in a different chair).

What we really want though, is a more major change on posture once every hour or so. Get out of the chair and move around properly, maybe even do a few stretches. Set a count-down timer on your phone – and put your phone where you can’t turn it off from your chair. First time it goes off – get up, and grab a drink of water, maybe stretch a little. Second time – get up and make a cup of tea, maybe do some squats whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. Third time, you probably need the toilet by now. Even if all you do is walk 5 paces to your phone, and 5 paces back; you will have spent 15 seconds not-sitting, and when you sit again, you’ll be in a (slightly) different position, and that can make all the difference. Of course, spending 10 times longer is 10 times better, but 10 seconds is infinitely better than 0 seconds.

Posture Joke

BTW, the same goes for exercise / activity; 5km jog is 10 times better than 500m jog… which is twice is good as a 500m walk… which is infinitely better than 0m


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