May 20, 2016
Sitting at work is unavoidable nowadays. The majority of us spend more than six hours sitting everyday. Think about it: all day at work, during breakfast, lunch and dinner, while watching TV or reading a book. Now add in all the hours spent on your phone (that posture is bad for your spine too). Yikes!
Though most don’t realize it, the health risks that come with sitting all day are severe and even deadly. Stiff shoulders and a bad back are the least of the concerns.
Prolonged sitting also leads to weight gain, anxiety and depression, heart disease, varicose veins and an increased risk of certain types of cancer and diabetes.
Here are a few tips that will help you avoid those negative effects:
Use a proper base position.
Before sitting down, be sure your head, shoulder and hips are aligned. Slightly tighten your glutes and abs and rotate your shoulders back with your thumbs pointing forward. Now sit down without straining your muscles, It may be difficult to hold this position for extended periods of time. As needed, stand up and reset your base position.
Keep your head up.
This frees your neck and shoulders from tension. Try to place your chin parallel to the floor. Raise you computer monitor to eye-level. Also, though you may feel strange, hold your phone up to your eyes when using it. Your co-workers won’t be laughing at you when they’re hunched over and you’re pain free.
Frequently change your position.
Stand up and walk around for 10 minutes every hour. Do not remain in just one position while sitting. Cross your legs. Uncross them. Stretch them out for a bit…. Doing so actually helps your posture. One position that helps stretch out the hips and relieve your back from sitting is to cross an ankle over the opposite knee.
Even if you use a standing desk, be sure to switch from one foot to the other. Try propping one leg up and leaning onto it to take some stress off your back.
Don’t be surprised if at first these steps are difficult. Your muscles just aren’t used to it yet. Here are several exercises and stretches you can do to help strengthen your spine and back to adjust faster. Give it time, allow your muscles to get stronger. Remember your health is at stake. Soon you’ll be wondering why you ever used to slouch.