Proper Posture When Standing and Sitting

Businesswoman Typing on Computer at Desk

Good posture is important for the protection of muscles, joints and ligaments. If you regularly sit or stand in positions that put unnecessary strain on your body, you may develop pain, injury, arthritis or abnormal positioning of the spine, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Learn and practice proper posture to protect your health.

Sitting Properly

Sit in the chair and straighten your back. Pull your shoulders back slightly and make sure your buttocks touch the back of the chair, recommends the Cleveland Clinic.

Make sure your feet touch the floor. If they do not, rest them on a footrest. Do not cross your legs or sit in other positions that do not allow both feet to touch the floor or a footrest.

Keep your knees at about the same height as your hips. If this is not possible, rest your feet on a stool to bring your knees up to the right level.

Allow a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of the seat, recommends the American Chiropractic Association.

Avoid tensing your shoulders and rest your arms on the arms of the chair or on your desk so that they are parallel to the floor.

Keep your body straight. Your torso and neck should remain in line vertically, your thighs should remain in a straight horizontal line and your lower legs should stay vertical, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. If you recline or decline your chair, be sure to keep your head, neck and torso in a straight line.

Standing Properly

Avoid slouching. Straighten your body and pull your shoulders back so that your legs, torso, neck and head are all in a vertical line, recommends OSHA.

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly.

Bear your weight on the balls of your feet, the portion of the foot between the toes and arch, recommends the American Chiropractic Association. If you have to stand for long periods, shift the weight from your toes to your heels. You can also rest your feet on a footrest one at a time, but maintain proper posture and avoid slouching.

Let your arms hang freely at your sides when possible.


Staying in the same position for a prolonged period is not healthy, according to OSHA. Stretch and move around occasionally if you spend a lot of time in one position.

If your chair swivels, move your whole body when you turn instead of twisting at the waist.

To stand up from a sitting position, move to the front of your seat and push up with your legs instead of bending at the waist, recommends the Cleveland Clinic.


Avoid adjusting your posture and consult a doctor or physical therapist if the physical activity causes or increases back pain or pain that spreads to your legs.