Back Safety: Sitting

Sitting can strain your back if you don’t do it correctly. Learn the right moves to protect your back.

Sitting down

Follow these steps to sit down. Reverse them to get back up.

  • Make sure the chair is behind you.

  • Place one foot slightly behind the other.

  • Tighten your stomach muscles. Bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight.

  • Hold the armrests or sides of the seat for support.

  • Bend your knees. Use your leg muscles to lower yourself onto the seat.

  • Scoot back in the seat until you are comfortable.

    Woman holding armrests of chair and keeping back straight as she sits down.Woman keeping back straight and one foot in front of the other as she holds on to armrests to sit down in chair.

Sitting safely

  • Keep your feet flat. Don’t cross your legs.

  • A low footrest (no higher than 8 inches) may help.

  • A support behind your lower back or at your shoulder blades can help make you more comfortable.

  • When sitting for long periods, change your position from time to time. Also, get up every half hour and move around.

Man sitting in chair with back straight and feet on footrest.

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2020
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.