Most of us have seen the articles that state prolonged sitting is bad for us.  A quick Internet search will bring up plenty of research and discussion on the topic.  In addition to sitting at a desk for a minimum of 10 hours on a workday, in addition to binge watching Game of Thrones and Big Bang Theory on the weekends, the amount of time I personally spend in the standing position for an extended period of time is alarmingly minimal.

If you're looking for the specifics on how sitting is decreasing your lifespan, I'll direct you to do the research on your own. I prefer to focus on what we can do to help with our sedentary sins. I found a great video by Business Insider that details tips and tricks for sitting at your desk to decrease your chances of "sitting illnesses".  

A great rule of thumb is to aim to stand, walk, or stretch between 1 to 5 minutes every 15-30 minutes every hour.  I've taken the liberty to list the suggestions from the video here.  If you're looking for some visual cues on how to sit and set up your desk, check out the video.

Monitor Setup

  • Top of monitor should be 2" - 3" above seated eye level.  Prop the monitor up with books if needed.
  • Sit about an arm's length (18" - 28") away from the monitor.
  • You should not have to squint when reading from the monitor.  Adjust the display settings if things are hard to see.
  • Use display dimmer applications such as F.lux or G.lux to adjust the color temperature to reduce eyestrain caused by extended exposure to LED emissions.
  •  Downward-viewing angle should not go below 60°

Chair Setup

  • Ensure hips are pushed back
  • Adjust chair height to allow feet to be flat the floor.  Use a foot rest (or prop books underneath feet) if needed.
  • Knees should clear front of seat cushion.
  • Ensure back is properly supported.  Bar stools need not apply.
  • Adjust armrests to allow elbows to be parallel to keyboard*
  • Be sure to rock in your chair (slightly) as sedentary positions put stress on the body.

Keyboard & Mouse

  • Keep shoulders, hands, and wrists relaxed while operating.
  • Use wrist guards to assist in relieving any strain and to compensate for any additional stress.  Trackballs can be a great alternative.
  • Elbows should be in a slightly open position (about 110°).  
  • If sitting forward, tilt the keyboard back. A small notebook can be placed underneath the keyboard to assist with this.

*There is an argument that armrests can increase the amount of pressure on elbow joints, due to carpal tunnel, I found this to be the case in my situation.  Armrests can be easily removed from most office chairs.