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I spent some time thinking about this recently. It's kind of frustrating. It seems that most of the advice out there on posture is about why sitting up straight is good for you. There are also all these diagrams that show you how your back, shoulders should look like. But as crazy as it sounds, I just can't remember to consistently sit up straight.

For the past 15 minutes, I've been sitting with a book behind my back. It's pressed up against the back of my chair - so long as I don't slouch. This has worked for the past 15 minutes. Not sure how annoying this would get day in and day out. Has anyone tried something like this?

What else might be a good way to encourage proper posture?

EDIT: I've found placing the book between my back and chair to be pretty effective, but only during the times I remember to put a book there. :(

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Not long ago, there was a new research article about ergonomics. It said that it is better to move about every now and then, instead of staying comfortably static. Here's an article quoting an osteopath (although in Finnish): yle.fi/uutiset/tyoergonomia_unohtaa_usein_liikkeen/6631024 –  Juha Untinen May 17 '13 at 7:24
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Here is a related question by skeptics.stackexchange.com: Is sitting straight up the healthiest way to sit? –  Stephan Schielke May 20 '13 at 19:47
    
Work on your abs. Although as mentioned above, the 'natural' human posture is to slouch a little. –  Muz Jun 10 '13 at 12:07
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14 Answers 14

Sitting straight all the time is harmful, you shouldn't be doing that! It's putting too much stress on your back. We humans are built to stand up most of the time and sitting in a chair is artificial for our bodies. You're slouching not because you forget to sit straight, but because your body tries to ease unnecessary tension.

Please take a look at this link site for a proper position http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6187080.stm

If you feel you're slouching too much in general please find proper exercises to straighen your back muscles.

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There is a lot of research coming out currently about the health problems resulting from too much sitting. I would try to minimize the time you spend sitting, maybe get a standing desk or something. It's a lot easier to remember to stand up straight than it is to sit up straight in my experience. –  Tortilaman May 18 '13 at 4:05
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  1. There are many apps and software programs that can give a reminder every now and then (e.g. schedulers, break timers, mindfullness or pomodoro apps). You can use any of these programs to regularly remind yourself to sit up straight.
  2. Put your watch on your other wrist. Every time you want to check the time and look at the wrong wrist you remind yourself to sit up straight.
  3. When sitting behind the computer, put a post-it on your computer screen with the text "sit up straight".
  4. Set an egg timer, when it goes off check your posture and set it again.
  5. Buy a posture alert device (e.g. something like this)
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+1 regular alerts are an excellent way to improve posture awareness. –  Rory Alsop May 17 '13 at 10:46
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It's just a matter of getting used to.

Our back is used to a position, straight or not. The harder is to change our habits. So you have to force yourself and getting straight back as soon as you notice you are no longer straight.

And the more you will do that, the easier it will be. This will become natural and you won't need to worry as often (if you succeed well, this can take time, it will be almost never). Don't give up!

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There is also the legs trick that usually helps: you just need to keep you knees bend so that your feet are under your body (not in front of it) and only your toes touch the ground. It's similar to the kneeling position.

You can use a special kneeling chair as shown in the picture beneath but I wouldn't recommend it as backs are not designed to go without support for too long. Still you can use the same position with a regular chair and it will make staying straight much easier.

Example picture - It seems I don't have the reputation to post the picture, also it may be copyrighted.

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There's a software program called Postureminder (http://www.postureminder.co.uk/) which can use your webcam to monitor posture and give you a reminder when you've been out of good posture for a while.

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Bit of a lifehack solution this one...

Take one jacket/shirt/cardigan...

enter image description here

and your working chair, I'm using this one for demonstration purposes...

enter image description here

Place the jacket/shirt/cardigan over the back of the chair like so...

enter image description here

(So that the neck of the jacket/shirt/cardigan is where a chair user's neck might be.

Now sit on the chair and place your arms into the arms of the jacket/shirt/cardigan, you should find that the material prevents you leaning forward into a nasty posture and that you get nicely back in the habit of not straining your lower back.

For a more stuble view on the back/posture issue there is a nice recent TED talk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1luKAS_Xcg

enter image description here

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You may want to try 'active sitting' by using a gym ball instead of a chair every once in a while. More information is here.

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When I was not self employed and spent way too much time on my desk, I had a couple of reminders on my Outlook calendar. Every workday at 10am and 3pm, I would get a popup message saying "check your posture". It was more effective in the beginning, so it probably pays to shuffle it a bit every now and then, but I noticed that I sit straight more often.

Now that I work for myself, I have a little more variety on my work and generally get up to talk with people, so my bad posture is not affecting me so much anymore.

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Buy a knee chair or one of these large balls to sit on. That will automatically improve your posture.

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Use a firm sturdy chair like a kitchen table chair instead of an office chair.

I observe that I tend to slouch in the office because the combination of my soft leather chair and my cotton pants makes my butt naturally slide forward. When I work at home in our dining table, I tend to sit straight because the chair is hard and not built to be comfy and relaxing.

Notice that we don't slouch while eating at the dining table while we don't sit up straight in a sofa.

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I remember seeing a great lifehack for this a while back, possibly on Reddit. It only requires duct tape.

Step 1: In the morning, with no shirt on, stand up as straight as you can with perfect posture.

Step 2: Get your roommate or significant other to put one piece of duct tape on your back across from one shoulder blade to the other.

Step 3: Second piece of duct tape running from the top of your spine down your back.

Throughout the day, anytime you start to slouch, you will feel the tape pulling and it will remind you to sit up straight. After a few days of this you should find that you start to sit up straight automatically.

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Also a good solution to hairy backs :-) –  THelper Jun 10 '13 at 22:06
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If you spend a decent time driving to/from work, have your mirrors positioned so you need to sit up tall to see out of them properly. It'll be habit forming.

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Family and Friends: I asked my family members and close friends to quietly remind me whenever they caught me off guard.

Exercise: People also tend to slouch when their back and shoulder muscles are weakened. A natural but hard way is by running and back strengthening exercises 15-20 min a day.

I had this problem and it gradually got solved.

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Great feedback on this question! One thing I've used quite a bit is a desk that allows me to stand up while I work (I use a "geekdesk" but there are many varities) - keeps my posture pretty good and definitely keeps my energy up all day.

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A "geekdesk" is nice but pricy. I would highly recommend starting out with any simple desk that has adjustable legs on it (I've got a cheap one from IKEA) and adjust its height so that it's slightly lower than your elbows when your shoulders are low and you're standing up straight. Also, adjust your workspace productivity.stackexchange.com/questions/7398/… –  Max Nov 29 '13 at 23:40
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