Do you sit wrong? Or sit too long?
With more than HALF your day spent sitting, it’s important to know how such a basic function can have such a significant impact on your health.
Sitting all day can result in muscle weakness and stiffness, as well as pain in your lower back, hips, neck and shoulders.
There are three simple strategies to minimize the effects of sitting;
1. Sit Correctly
Check the list below to ensure you are using some of the principals of sitting correctly to reduce the stresses on your body. These positions provide an example of placing your spine in a ‘neutral’ alignment where the forces of gravity are evenly distributed across the body:
· Hips and knees should be bent at about 90 degrees
· Add lumbar support to the chair as required to help you sit tall
· Ensure feet are flat on floor (or use footrest)
· The screen should be positioned so that the top of the screen is level with, or slightly lower than, your eyes when you are sitting upright.
Elbows should be resting by
your side and bent at about 90degress to reach
· Keep wrists in a straight position (‘neutral’), not bent up or down
2. Sit less, Adjust Your Position
The saying goes… “The Best Posture, is the NEXT Posture.”
This means a number of things;
- Stand . . . Walk !! We should get out of the chair regularly to break up prolonged periods of sitting e.g. walk to the printer, stand when on the phone, have a meeting with a colleague via a short walk rather than sitting in the boardroom!
- Change positions in your chair frequently. Although we have outlined the principals of sitting ergonomics above, it is unrealistic to expect you can maintain the same posture all day, everyday. Humans are not robots and variety is the spice of life – even when considering healthy posture. It is okay to slouch occasionally to allow back muscles to relax. There are times when you may wish to sit on the front of the seat in healthy upright posture and not rely on the back rest. A good ergonomic setup allows you to adjust your chair frequently to alter your setup – the number of positions available to you depends on your chair. Take the time to know all the adjustments available in your chair and use them frequently! The key is to get it right the majority of the time, change positions regularly and avoid low slouchy positions that compress your spine, hips and neck! You can download a free ‘Sit Right widget’ to your desktop, which will help prompt you to take regular breaks from sitting or change position.
- Drove to work . . . sat all day at work . . . sat in the lounge all night. Sound familiar ?? It is difficult to change the sitting habits that revolve around work but easy to change what you do at home. If you have been stuck sitting all day, then maybe it is time to chill out at night by lying down at night – on the floor, across the lounge whatever is comfortable.
3. Exercise frequently
Regular exercise away from work – whatever your preference, goes along way to reversing the effects of sitting. So after a long day at work, consider a short walk around the block, a gym session, yoga session or pilates session whatever your preference to get the body moving again.
Your Physiotherapist can help you with your sitting posture, along with any pains you feel are associated with the way you sit. If you would like your posture assessed, more ideas on how to correctly set up your workspace, or exercises to help improve your posture, please contact us on (02) 4647 3373.