Who does not enjoy relaxing on the couch after a long and hard day?
At the end the end of the day, many of us relax by surfing the Internet or binge-watching Netflix on the couch.
When you factor in other things like a desk job and driving, the average person is estimated to spend about 14 hours a day sitting down.
That is a lot of hours!
And if most of those are spent with poor posture you will end up harming your back, shoulders, and neck.
Learn how to practice good posture while relaxing on the couch and you can avoid soreness and potentially even long-term damage.
If that is not enough for you, having good posture has other many health benefits and it simply looks better!
Continue reading below and you will learn the basics of why and how to sit on a couch with good posture so you can watch your favorite show without any potential damage to your body and health.
What Is Good Posture And Why Is It Important?
Practicing good posture basically means training your body to move and be still in positions that cause the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments.
Here is a list of benefits to good posture (non-exhaustive):
- Correctly aligns your bones and joints, ensuring that your muscles function properly.
- Helps to lessen the damaging friction of joint surfaces that may cause arthritis.
- Minimizes the stress on the ligaments that connect the joints of the spine.
- Stops the spine from becoming stuck in abnormal positions.
- Potentially become taller by regaining lost height
- Prevents compression of the lungs that can cause poor breathing and chest pain
- Prevents fatigue by using muscles more efficiently and expending less energy.
- Avoids strain or overuse problems.
- Prevents backaches and other muscular pain.
- Adds to a good physical appearance by avoiding forward head posture and rounded shoulders.
Perhaps you think most of these are obvious. But did you know that there is an increasing amount of evidence suggesting good posture benefits mental- and emotional health and even overall quality of life?
If that sounds intriguing you can check out something I wrote an article on another website named Big Blue Waves.
Sitting On The Couch With Decent Posture
Don’t worry, no one is going to ask you to balance a stack of books on your head while relaxing on your couch!
I am pretty sure it is effective though…
Try the following sitting positions instead to keep good form and prevent pain:
Move your bottom against the backrest while keeping your legs bent and feet on the ground. If your couch is deep or oversized, use a pillow or cushion behind your lower back.
If your pillows are soft, you can use more than one and compress them together to provide support.
Your couch may be tilted backward causing your head to lean forward, straining your neck and shoulders. If so, build your pillows up to shoulder blade level so your spine is as vertical as possible.
2) “Stacksit” on the edge
Scoot to the edge of the couch, making sure to slightly push forward your pelvis. Avoid swaying by anchoring your ribs and rolling your shoulders blades backward and squeeze them toward each other.
If your knees are above your hip joints, extend your legs in front of you or cross them at the ankles, letting your knees roll open to each side. This allows your thighs to slant downwards, promoting pelvic anteversion. Alternately, you could sit on an extra pillow or cushion to elevate your hips.
Stacksitting is a good option for softer couches with tilting backrests. Even with only an inch or two of support against the backs of your thighs, the slight stretch in your spine will give more comfort in the long-term than the inevitable soreness from rounding your back.
If you don’t have to share your couch, another comfortable option is reclining.
Extend your legs, using the full length of your sofa by resting your back against the armrest. Unfortunately, the armrests of most couches are too vertical to lay against, causing rounding of the spine.
Like stretchsitting on a soft couch, this can be remedied by piling pillows and cushions to create a slope supporting the curvature of the spine. Leave enough space for your bottom near the armrest and don’t lean your head or shoulders forward.
If there is no armrest, you can recline on your side. Again, use pillows or cushions and stack them under your waist, shoulders, and head in such a way that your spine remains straight and relaxed.
By the way, you might also be interested in some tips on maintaining good posture while watching tv in bed.
Going The Extra Mile
If you are interested in building strength and flexibility while ensuring that your body is in proper alignment, then you can incorporate the following easy yoga positions into your daily routine.
These relaxing shapes can be practiced on your couch and are not difficult to hold. They are specifically recommended for long periods of watching your laptop or TV.
Note that you should change poses when one becomes uncomfortable.
Use the full length of the couch and lie on your stomach with your elbows under your shoulders.
Push your hands into the couch, as if pulling the cushions back towards your pelvis. Imagine you are watching your laptop or TV with your collarbones. Remember to elongate the neck.
This shape releases the hip and groin, opens the chest and prevents slouching.
Supported Hero’s Pose
This is not recommended on softer couches. Sit on as many pillows or cushions as necessary. Bring your knees together.
Make sure your toes are pointing back or inwards. Use the front of your sitting bones as though rocking forward on a rocking chair.
You will find a natural inclination to roll your shoulders back and slightly tilt your head backward. This shape helps align your feet, knees, and spine by encouraging their natural curvature.
This pose is similar to stacksitting. Sit up on a pillow at the side of the couch, ensuring your hips are elevated above your knees.
Cross one knee over the other and place your hands over them. Sit as upright as possible while making sure that both sitting bones are on your pillow. After some time, switch knees, crossing the other on top.
This shape will help open up the TFL, IT Band, and all outer hip muscles that tend to tighten when seated for several hours.
Resting Shiva, LAT stretch
This is an active way to recline. Lie on your side, propping up your head with your arm by placing your hand under your ear.
Make sure your neck is active and elongated. Try to lift your body from your underarm. Keep your knees slightly bent and stack them on each other. Feel the opening on the side body. This will stabilize your hip and release the lower back.
Where To Go From Here?
Changing your bad couch posture is not going to be an easy task. It is perhaps not unlike breaking an old habit so give yourself time and don’t be too forceful.
While improving your posture when relaxing on the couch goes a long way, if you truly want some significant improvements you need to think about how you spend the rest of the time and with what posture.
I like to describe what you need to put your main focus on with these three things:
- Consider the ergonomics of your surroundings and how to improve them
- Become more aware of what good posture feels and looks like. Some products known as posture correctors can work well for that.
- Do various exercises to reverse the effects bad posture have had on your body. Check out these exercises to fix common posture issues.
A few tweaks to your sleeping posture can also go a long way.