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Mitrais, posture, Software Development

Maintaining Good Posture as a Programmer

As a programmer, we spend hours sitting in our working space daily. Without much knowledge or awareness about posture, we might consciously or unconsciously sit in a bad posture for hours, putting our muscles and joints under unnecessary stress. This habit can make our posture worse without us realizing it until, one day, we look in the mirror and realize how bad our posture has become, or even worse when our health has been affected by it.  

Having a good posture is not simply a cosmetic issue. It is not just a “bad look.” There are a lot of health issues caused by a bad posture that might affect our working performance and our daily lives, such as back pain, neck pain, fatigue, headache, and jaw pain, and it can cause breathing problems as well. To prevent further complications from poor posture, we need to have sufficient knowledge about it and know how to overcome this problem.

Fixing Your Posture as a Programmer

1. Postural Awareness

To maintain good posture and prevent a poor one, we need to develop a habit of correcting the way we carry our body whenever we are aware that we are sitting or standing incorrectly. By creating this habit, rather than waiting for back and neck pain as our body’s alarm system to fix our stance quickly, we can fix it before we cure it. To do that, we must first be aware of how to bear our bodies correctly.

A good body posture when standing is indicated by having our ears line up with the middle of our shoulders, our upper and lower back should be straight, and our hip should be aligned with our shoulders and knees.

Standing posture (Eversharp Physical Therapy)

On the other hand, a good sitting posture should be straight back, buttocks touching the back of our chairs, and 3 normal back curves (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar curve) should be present. 

Sitting posture (Moramarco Chiropractic) 

Being conscious of our body when we are too focused on our coding is not easy. When too concentrated on work, we often lose awareness of our surroundings and ourselves. We start to slouch or hunch on our seats, and who knows for how long. 

Therefore, we should train ourselves to be more mindful of our bodies. We could do this by having a postural check alarm every 10-15 minutes and adjusting our posture accordingly whenever we sense an issue. By doing this, we will start developing a habit of checking and being more mindful. 

2. Working Space Adjustments

Our working space is where we spend most of our time. Having a comfortable one will not only increase our productivity but also immensely affect our posture for the better or worse. Sometimes we only think about comfort but do not realize that it damages our posture.  

A good working space should support and help our body maintain good posture. The working table, chair, laptop, and computer should all be adjusted to our bodies. These days an adjustable working table is popular as we can adjust its height to match ours. So, if you have one, try also switching between working while standing or sitting. A good working table should be able to support our arms bent in an L shape and equipped with a chair having arm support to maintain the shape. Moreover, the top of our laptop or computer screen should be set up to 2 to 3 inches below eye level, while the distance between the device and our body should be about an arm’s length away. 

To support our back while working, we also need a working chair adjusted to the body. A good working chair should have lumbar support, but if we don’t have one, we can buy a lumbar support pillow. Moreover, the chair should not be too high to ensure that our feet are flat on the ground. However, if the chair is too high and the feet are hanging, we could add a footrest to support them. 

Correct sitting posture (Ergo-Dimensions) 

3. Move and Stretch

Although we already maintain good posture while working, doing it for hours without moving at all will not be good for the body. It might be even worse than when we walk with poor posture. Therefore, it is important to take regular small breaks. Getting yourself some water or snacks or doing anything else that makes you leave your desks for a while is good so that we can move our bodies. It is also suggested to stretch every hour to loosen the stiffened muscles. Some people also start doing yoga poses at their desks (and it’s possible!). 

Some people may think that they do not have time to take short breaks and may even skip their lunch. Having a tight schedule or deadline and being stuck in the middle of a bug or feature fixing are some common excuses that prevent them from getting away from their working space. However, skipping breaks can lead to higher stress levels and burnout. A study at the University of Illinois (2011) reported that taking a break can reset our brain’s ability to focus and pay attention, which can improve mental focus when we return from our breaks. This is why to stay sharp and creative; we need to step down for a while for a needed break to launch our fullest potential when working.  


Maintaining a good posture as a programmer who spends hours sitting down daily is not easy, especially if we are in the middle of a hectic project and our focus is solely invested in our work. However, with all the health risks that are haunting the sedentary habit, it is something that we definitely need to work on. Moreover, by changing our habits, not only will we physically benefit from them, but our mental health and productivity will improve as well. We also need to remember that our health is more valuable than our work. If we are not physically and mentally healthy, then how are we going to do our work properly? Working hard is important but being healthy should always be our priority. 


Eversharp Physical Therapy. 2022. How to maintain proper posture in any position, sitting, standing, or lying down | Eversharp Physical Therapy. [online] Available at: <https://www.eversharptherapy.com/is-your-poor-posture-causing-back-pain/> [Accessed 30 September 2022]. 

Gao, R., 2020. Basic Ergonomics For Your Home Office. [online] Chatelaine. Available at: <https://www.chatelaine.com/home-decor/home-office-ergonomics-faq/> [Accessed 30 September 2022]. 

Moramarco Chiropractic. 2016. Why Is It Important to Have Good Posture? [online] Available at: <http://www.drmoramarco.com/good-posture-matters/> [Accessed 30 September 2022]. 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 2011, February 8. Brief diversions vastly improve focus, researchers find. ScienceDaily. [online] Available at: <https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208131529.htm> [Accessed 30 September 2022]. 

Author: Celyn Susanto, Software Engineer Programmer

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