So you have heard that sitting is the new smoking, right? As much as I agree that too much sitting is harmful to the body, sitting cannot be compared to smoking.The body is designed and needs to sit (not necessarily on a chair) but doesn’t need cigarettes! Moreover, you do not need to stop sitting to address this problem and thus I am not in favour of making things worse than they really need to be as it may mislead and confuse people.
It is a fact that we are now doing more sitting than ever but the problem isn’t in the sitting itself but the amount of time we spend sitting statically in the same position. That together with poor posture and lack of movement is what puts the spine at risk. Sitting for long periods of time (they say 20+ minutes at a time) without moving puts strain in the vertebrae and the muscles around them.
So, how do we tackle this sitting problem? The solution is not stop sitting because we need to sit down, neither is in fancy ergonomic chairs.The solution is to sit less and move more as well as understanding the principles of good posture. In an office setting, people go from sitting at the desk, to sitting in a meeting room, to sitting in the coffee area, to sitting for lunch, back to the desk, then sit in the bus/tube/car home, to sit in front of the TV. Then at the table for dinner then to lie in bed, day in day out. On top of that some have developed an allergy to taking the stairs between floors and then they wonder why it hurts when they get out of bed? Sorry, I needed to get this out, I have been there and seen it so many times. The body is designed to move, if you don’t move you lose the ability to move with ease and it will hurt!
If you work in an office or sit for long hours you need to stand up, stretch and move around for at least five good minutes, every 20 minutes. You can also move while you are sitting video coming soon.
Something that would help you enormously and not difficult to arrange, would be to have a couple of different chairs that allows you to change sitting position every so often during the day. Note that the picture on the side isn’t to say this is the right way to sit, it is just a different way.
The key factor is variety and movement so that the body (muscles, tissue and bone) does not adopt patterns that creates the misalignments which result in pain.
It is believed that going to the gym for an hour or two after work once or twice a week or even every day doesn’t compensate for the amount of hours one spends sitting. This makes sense because if we look at movement as food for the body and brain then just like the food we eat and the water we drink, we don’t do it once a day after work do we? Do you always need to sit down in meetings (or the whole time), do you really need to sit down when you go for a coffee break, do you really need to take the lift to go 1, 2 or 3 floors down/up, do you really need to take ‘that bus’? Create opportunities to move, not excuses to do nothing. Please help yourself no one will do that for you.
Do ergonomic chairs and standing tables help? Certainly they do if you use them correctly – check out video below.
I am on a mission to raise awareness of good posture and spread the seeds of good postural habits to avoid pain in the future; to bring posture education to schools and homes so that we give children the chance to grow up with the understanding and awareness of good posture, maintain a healthy spine and avoid suffering. Ultimately, I want to be of value and service to you and the world through posture awareness.
Do let me know your thoughts on this by posting below and if you would like to support my mission and be part of the change then please share.