The way you sit while you are reading is more important than most people think. If your reading posture is bad, it can bring nasty problems like neck, back, and shoulder pain. Poor reading posture can also reduce your focus, concentration and the amount of time you can read.
However, if you adopt a good posture, it will stimulate your focus and concentration, and allow you to keep reading for longer. A good posture is essentially the one that you can comfortably and safely stay in longest while reading.
So, while it is good that you are taking the time to better your mind by reading, make sure you’re also doing the same for your body while at it.
Key Factors for Good Reading Posture
Here are five things to remember that'll help you maintain the correct posture while reading:
1. Straight Back
Supporting your back is central to maintaining good posture while reading. Bending your back and hunching forward can lead to neck and back pain, especially if you keep repeating this bad habit over a long period of time.
Keep your back straight, pressed parallel to the back of the chair to ensure your spine is in a safe position that can be set for a long period of time. This will improve your focus, concentration, and ensure you’re not easily distracted. It will also help prevent back and neck pains.
2. Neutral Spine
Sit up straight with your chin tucked down and your neck even with your shoulders. Place the tailbone of your lower back comfortably against the back of your chair. Make sure your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line.
If you find it difficult or uncomfortable to maintain a neutral spine posture - the position in which your back and neck are placed under the least amount of stress similar to the relaxed position we assume floating in water while swimming, then improve your body positioning by periodically stretching your neck, shoulders, back, and hips.
Everything is all connected for good posture.
3. Feet Propped Up
Seating yourself in a comfortable and relaxing posture is easier when you lift up your feet and legs using a little foot platform. A foot platform keeps your blood circulation more efficient.
Be mindful also that the edge of your chair does not cut off the blood supply to your legs. Place your thighs parallel to the floor, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and your feet placed on the ground firmly or supported comfortably against the foot platform on the floor.
The position of your feet and legs determine how relaxed and comfortable you feel when you are reading. Ensure your feet are flat on the floor or on the foot platform placed on the floor.
4. Eyes Trailed Straight Ahead
Bring the book closer to your eyes instead of slouching forward and pulling your head closer to the book. Keep the book at a little less than arm’s length. This will help keep your head upright, your back straight, and you won’t strain your eyes. Your spine will also be neutral – from the tail bone up through the neck.
Having your head tilted for hours can be strenuous on your neck and shoulders. Properly adjusting your head will open up your air passages and keep oxygen flowing more efficiently to your brain.
5. Chair Well Adjusted
Sit upright in your chair with knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Your seat and the back of your chair should be cushioned for added comfort. This will support blood flow and keep circulation going.
You can also support your elbows with pillows or some other type of cushioning to maintain a comfortable posture throughout while reading for an extended period of time.