You’ve been sitting at your desk all wrong, says science

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Good posture is hard to come by these days. Most of us sit crouched at our desks all day, straining our eyes and muscles as we squint into our screens. You may even be (okay, you probably are) in this unhealthy position right now.

Although your posture is most likely not the first thing on your mind when you sit down at your desk in the morning, it’s important to learn basic office ergonomics so you can adjust your chair, screen and body accordingly.

You may not realize it, but every minor tweak to your posture can make the world of difference to your long-term health. For example, here’s a scary fact: For every inch that the head comes forward, the spine feels like is has taken on an extra 10 pounds. Ouch!

Mayo Clinic gives a full list of proper office ergonomic tips, which we’ve laid out below. These adjustments can feel a little strange at first, but trust us, you’ll get used to it — and your body will thank you.

  1. Eyes in line with the part of your screen you focus on the most
  2. Monitor an arm’s length away
  3. Straight vertical alignment of your head and spine
  4. Hips pushed to the back of chair
  5. Shoulders relaxed
  6. Elbows at 90 degree angle when resting on your keyboard (wrists straight)
  7. Knees at the level of your hips or just slightly below
  8. Feet flat on the floor
  9. Legs uncrossed

If you’re on the shorter side, consider buying a foot rest to create the correct 90 degree angle between your hips, knees and floor.

Another helpful tip? If you’re on the phone a lot, considering using your headphone speaker to talk or go into a private room to talk on speaker phone, as craning your neck to talk into your telephone can cause serious stress on your neck.

So next time you’re at your desk, run through this checklist to make sure your body is properly aligned. No more crouching hunchbacks in the office — and yes, we mean you.

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