If your mama ever told you to sit up straight or stop slouching as a kid then you should have listened because Mama was right! Many of us are stuck with desk bound jobs but that doesn’t give us permission to develop poor posture. The research shows that the average American office worker can sit for 9.5-15 hours a day. Think about your day. We are sitting a lot! From eating meals, working, commuting to and from work, watching TV, checking emails, and socializing with friends, we are sitting. And so we experience a lot of pain from sitting.
According to the research after only 30 minutes of sitting your metabolism slows and after 2 hours good cholesterol drops by 20%. Many musculoskeletal conditions causing low back and neck pain, shoulder and hip impingement, headaches, and decreased performance in the gym can be minimized by improving your sitting posture and decreasing your sitting time throughout your day. So if you are not one of the lucky ones who has the ability to transform their desk into a standing station or you need assistance with your current sitting posture for the few hours a day you should be sitting, then listen up.
The picture below describes the key points to consider when sitting.
– computer screen at eye level
– about a 90 degree bend at the knees
– full contact of foot with floor and actively pressing into floor
– relaxed shoulders, neutral neck, and upright back
– about a 90 degree bend at elbows
Below are the pelvic positions, someone can create when sitting (or standing). In A, the person is sitting with excessive anterior pelvic tilt (pelvis tipping forward) and increased lumbar lordosis (low back arch). In C, the person demonstrates excessive posterior pelvic tilt (pelvis tipping back) and rounded lumbar. Either of these end of range extremes can be damaging especially if you are maintaining this position for hours while at your desk, on the couch, or watching your kid’s baseball game.
Now for the challenge!
– stand while taking a phone call
– stand while eating lunch
– walk to your coworker instead of sending the email
– encourage standing meetings
– get up from your desk every 20-30 minutes
Now in the famous words of your mama, “Sit up straight!”
-Claudia Chaloner, PT, DPT
Owen, Bauman, Brown. Too much sitting: a novel and important prediction of chronic disease risk. Br J Sports Med. 2009.
Buckley, et al. The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity. Expert statement commissioned by Public Health England and the Active Working Community Interest Company. Br J Sports Med. 2015.
How to Cut Death Risk: Just Get Off Your Duff. www.lifescience.com. 2010.