How can I stop slumping in my chair?
March 19, 2015 10:48 AM   Subscribe

I have a terrible habit of slumping down in my faux-leather chair at work. No matter how often I catch myself and sit up straight, a few minutes later I'm sliding back down. I really hate this because it makes me look like a schlub, especially when the boss comes to my desk. I've actually considered putting some kind of rubber mat on the seat to keep my butt from sliding, but rejected this as unavoidably bizarre. Short of buying a new, more friction-y chair, is there anything I can do to stop this habit?
posted by Enemy of Joy to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe one of those support cushion things? A frictiony one? These sort of things.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:51 AM on March 19, 2015

I used to slouch a lot too. I thought I had a laziness problem.

Until I started to lift weights in gym (nothing heavy, just enough to make me slightly stronger). Now I automatically sit up straight. It just feels a lot more comfortable that way. That's the way our muscles are build, I guess, and if we start to strengthen them, we can actually use them.

So consider getting a few weights - chest press, working on back muscles?
posted by moiraine at 10:54 AM on March 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Sit on a yoga ball. If you feel doofy doing it at work, practice at home while watching TV or reading.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:01 AM on March 19, 2015

Seconding lifting weights. I found deadlifts helped my posture -- both sitting and standing -- a lot.
posted by bradf at 11:17 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try the different adjustments on you chair. You might find one that's not conducive to slumping.
posted by Harald74 at 11:18 AM on March 19, 2015

Get yourself a good waist slimmer undershirt. It'll encourage good posture when sitting and standing, and provide extra support. Plus, it'll make you look thinner! Bonus!
posted by erst at 11:24 AM on March 19, 2015

Definitely weights and yoga will be helpful. In the meantime, there is a Fitbit-type of wearable device called the Lumo that will vibrate when you slouch, giving instant feedback.
posted by barnone at 11:35 AM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

I put a pillow behind my back when I want to sit up straight, usually when I am typing a lot or because slumping is starting to cause my back to ache. I use a regular bed pillow, but you could get something more discreet for work.
posted by wrabbit at 11:54 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a product called "Backjoy" that's a sort of molded plastic that you stick on your seat and sit on. It provides support in your back posture and naturally helps you sit up straight.

I've got one and it's helped immensely with sitting up straight.
posted by Karaage at 11:56 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great info, thanks everyone!
posted by Enemy of Joy at 12:41 PM on March 19, 2015

Perhaps getting a foot rest could help?
posted by gemutlichkeit at 12:47 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just bought a neat little product called Lumo Lift that you wear on your shirt and it buzzes when you slouch. I haven't started using it yet, but it has a training mode that gradually decreases the amount of time you're allowed to slouch. I'm a sucker for gadgets.
posted by Dragonness at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2015

It might be more extreme than what you're interested in, but a convertible standing desk would do the trick. A few people around here have gotten these and love them. I'm going to get one.
posted by LowellLarson at 1:32 PM on March 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

Another vote for stretches, weights and exercise.

I had a shoulder injury in 2013 that eventually led me to a physical therapist. Part of her work with me was getting me to recognize that I'd dealt with shoulder pain by gradually pulling my shoulders forward, over time retraining my trunk in the opposite way it should rest: with chest out and shoulders pulled slightly back. It takes a bit of practice to get in the habit of doing this--your chest will probably feel tight when you first start paying attention to it--but the more you do it, the more second nature it becomes.

Some relevant range-of-motion starting point exercises are here. If you have good insurance, it might be really worth it to ask for a physical therapy consult (for reals--PT was some of the best preventive medicine I've ever experienced). My insurance brought my copay down to about $30/session.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:31 PM on March 19, 2015

>I've actually considered putting some kind of rubber mat on the seat to keep my butt from sliding, but rejected this as unavoidably bizarre.

This doesn't sound bizarre at all to me. People in office environments do all sorts of things to their chairs to make them more comfortable. If I saw that someone had put something on his or her seat I wouldn't think twice about it.
posted by sam_harms at 5:12 PM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

A bit counterintuitive, but I find that tipping the seat far forward, so you're sitting downhill with your hips much higher than your knees, will prevent slouching. It puts more of the effort of keeping you upright on your feet and legs, with the back of the chair acting to keep your back straight. This'll only work if you have an adjustable desk chair.
posted by coppermoss at 6:54 PM on March 19, 2015

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