Improving Comfort and Posture Whilst Sitting

Danny is a masters architecture student, currently studying how architecture can help in leading a fulfilling life for people living with dementia and carers

Since we have all come on to zoom, it may be that you have grabbed the first piece of furniture available to you like a dining chair for example and made a quick setup at home. This week we were reflecting on the furniture we spend the most time sitting or lying in and the setup we have for these zoom calls to improve comfort during them.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does the material of the furniture feel comfortable to touch?

If you are using a chair like mine (wicker), the surface might dig into your skin or if the material is old it may have frayed and become uncomfortable. If this is the case, you can maybe think about replacing a sofa cover, changing your bedding, adding a cushion to a chair, or putting a throw over the seat.

2. Is your furniture hard or soft?

If you are sitting on a hard wooden dining chair for example, prolonged sitting can cause discomfort. Think about adding a cushion to the seat and back support.

3. Are you sitting back in your chair?

If you find yourself sitting towards the front of the seat, your back may not be properly supported which can cause aches and pains over time. A simple fix for this is to sit up straight with your lower back against the backrest, or if this is uncomfortable, add a cushion or pillow behind you for support.

4. Are there any obstacles for your legs?

If you are sitting at a desk or table, make sure there are no unnecessary objects under there that prevent you from stretching your legs out. Also, make sure that behind your knees the chair is comfortable and not digging into your legs at all.

5. How is your posture? 

If you are sat in an office or dining chair and feel like your back and neck is craning towards the screen whilst on these zoom calls, there are a few simple things to fix this:

  • Put your feet flat on the floor in front of you, parallel with each other. 
  • Adjust your height so that your upper legs are parallel with the floor.
  • If you have an office chair, some allow you to adjust the height with a level on the side, if you don’t have an office chair, you can sit on a pillow to raise your height.
  • Sit against the back of the chair, and if you feel you need extra support for your lower back, add a rolled-up towel or small pillow here.
  • Sit with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed.

6. Are you looking up or down at the screen?

If you are using a laptop or similar device for a long period of time and the screen is too high or too low it can give you neck or back pains. The screen is at the correct level when the top of the screen is in line with your eye level. To make your screen higher, you can make a make-shift stand for your device. This is easy to do for a laptop or tablet by using books to raise it higher.

7. Colour and patterns:

If you get any new furniture, or add any throws, try to avoid busy patterns as this can increase visual clutter as discussed in a previous week. Try to use colours that contrast the walls and floor so that the piece of furniture is easily visible.

8. Make sure to exercise:

Spending too long in one position can cause aches and pains. Make sure to get up and about if you are able to and try to practice some of Geny’s seat yoga exercises when and where you can.