Since you will be spending lots of time in a chair practicing, and later reporting, it is a good idea to consider the benefits of maintaining good posture when sitting. This was mentioned when I began court reporting school in my twenties, and I don’t remember paying it much heed; but, trust me, the decades pass quickly, so the more you can do to protect your back, the better off you will be in your later years. Don’t take your back for granted! You cannot report without it.
My yoga teacher always said, “If you do ONE thing per day, work on your back.” What great advice. Since court reporters lug around pounds of equipment daily, sometimes up and down stairs or in and out of car trunks, and then sit in the same chair for hours on end, often under conditions beyond their control, it is no wonder many experience back pain and discomfort; but being aware of your back and posture is an important first step in preventing future problems and mitigating existing ones.
There is a lot of information on the internet about sitting correctly in a chair, but the basic advice is to place your feet flat on the floor, bend your knees at a right angle, and keep your back straight with your buttocks touching the back of the chair. As court reporters, we usually sit in armless chairs with the machine between our legs with our elbows, arms and wrists parallel to the keyboard. Always try to maintain a neutral position to lessen any strain on your muscles and joints; e.g., avoid sitting with your torso twisted and your machine to one side. Keep your body aligned. Whenever you have an opportunity, such as during a break, you should stand and move around, stretch, roll your shoulders, flex and extend your wrists. Court reporting is a sedentary profession, so it makes good sense to move around as much as possible on and off the job, especially since inactivity can make us susceptible to other health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Maintaining a good sitting posture is especially important because it helps you breathe properly so more oxygen gets to your brain and muscles. This is key, as court reporter training is all about concentration and fine-motor-skill development. Postural stress will inhibit your ability to take in the amount of oxygen you need to perform optimally and will also contribute to muscle fatigue. During our intense practice sessions and right before taking our tests, we are often reminded to take a deep breath and breathe for this very reason. Unfortunately, when we are under great pressure, we sometimes tend to slouch, tense up, and hold our breath.
Get in the habit of self-checking your sitting posture. Not only will it help with your endurance and stamina on those long days, but it will project an image of confidence and competence. An attorney once complimented me on my sitting posture, which I found to be very surprising and affirming.