Is there a perfect sitting position?
Zaktualizowano: 27 cze 2021
Nowadays many professions require sitting position, and it won’t really change so we have to find a way how to balance such workstyle and movement. Sedentary lifestyle doesn’t only mean sitting job but also the way we are spending our free time. If we are sitting at the desk for 8 hours, we are burning 300 calories, while a waiter can burn 1300 calories.
Think how much time you spend sitting. Besides sitting often 8 hours at the work, we are sitting in the car or public transport, sitting while eating or resting.
Structures in our body were not created to carry such load in one position long-term. That’s why we often have pain and muscle stiffness. We need movement almost as much as oxygen. Humans need to move against gravity, so it means sitting is weakening us in similar way astronauts experience bone and muscle density loss in space.
Imagine how much pressure our back must carry. During sitting our spine is being unevenly overloaded. Muscle pain and numbness can be the result of compression of blood vessels or nerves.
Sedentary lifestyle is significantly slowing metabolism so it might lead to obesity, then eventually to high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, stroke, or heart attack. Blood and lymph flow decreases, which can result in blood clotting, edema, and increased risk of developing varicose veins. Common ailments are hemorrhoids and dysfunction of the pelvic floor.
Short-term side effects of prolonged sitting are noticeable firstly in the musculoskeletal system. From my experience, patients who work mostly in sitting position are prone to neck pain, lower back pain, pain between the shoulder blades, headaches, shallow breathing, chest pain, lymphatic edemas.
The body will adjust to the position in which it is most of the time.
Head is moving forward, arms are in protraction, rounded back and shortened hip muscles, the chest is sunken. Belly and buttocks muscles are weakened.
How to prevent it?
Many people think that it’s enough to stand or sit straight and it will decrease side effects of sitting. But in fact, it does not. In the static position, I recommend correcting your posture, straighten up, relax your shoulders, move your chin slightly backward.
The human being is subconsciously trying to save energy, so we are finding a way how to be more comfortable. Unfortunately, even 1 hour of exercise daily is not going to compensate whole day of sitting. The key is to have regular various movements during the day. Do some house chores or have some short walks or exercises at work. Nowadays the recommendation is to have 10/15 minutes movement an hour or to change position.
You can set a reminder to change your position at least every 40 minutes, for example from sitting to standing.
When you are sitting, sometimes use a chair with back support to relax your muscles and sometimes sit in active way for example on a gym ball or active chair. Then stand for a while and walk around the office/home. The spine hates static position and it’s made for movement. When you start to feel some discomfort change your position.
One of my favorite tools is the gym ball, I use it every day to stretch and strengthen muscles. I’m just rolling over and having fun.
It’s great to have a walking pad at home or maybe your company can arrange it at the office. You can work and burn calories at the same time. It will improve blood circulation so more oxygen will be transported to your brain, and it will help you concentrate.
Remember to take breaks and stretch. It is really important to stretch hip flexors and chest muscles as in the first picture, because while we are sitting, we have constantly flexed hips, and our arms are in protraction.