Do you ever think about the way you’re sitting? It may come as a surprise but many of us aren’t sitting correctly and even this seemingly harmless act can lead to a plethora of problems and have far reaching consequences. Who’d have thought such a simple thing could be so destructive.
1. How to Sit 🪑
You just flop onto the couch in the most comfortable way possible and binge Netflix for hours? Unfortunately not. There’s a lot happening when you sit down that's been taking for granted. If you find yourself slouching or reclining in your chair, this may maximise comfort, but at the same time we’re neglecting our spines and joints. Keeping our joints aligned helps make sure everything is working properly and reduces wear and tear. The image below is used generally for people when working at an office, but once you get home the same rules still apply. The longer we sit awkwardly the more distorted our bodies become.
2. Try to Reduce the Amount of Time Sat Down
The recommended amount of maximum time to be sat down in one go is just 30 minutes. If you consider the many stationary activities promoted by society that have us sitting for longer periods - from office work to visiting the cinema, this is quite a short amount of time. And it’s easy to forget. Try and set a timer, and get up to stretch your legs and take a short walk. 🚶🏾♀️🚶♀️
3. Align Your Pelvis 🧘♀️
The position of your pelvis matters. When it isn’t in the right position it’s almost impossible to have good posture. Try to sit with your pelvis in a neutral position with your weight evenly distributed across both buttocks and your knees equal distance apart. This website has a great explanation and examples.
4. Don’t Forget Your Neck & Shoulders
More than ever we’re putting excessive strain on these areas due to always looking down at our mobile phones or laptops. Try to become aware of this happening the next time you look down at your device and raise it up, level to your eyes. At first this may seem weird but it gets easier the more you do it.
5. Strengthen Your Legs and Glutes 🦵🏾🦵
If you’re just starting to realise that all the Netflix bingeing (and even your workplace) isn’t doing you great favours, then don’t panic! Our bodies are exceptionally flexible and we can build back strength. If you don’t have strong legs and glutes to stabilise yourself then you’ll find no matter how much you try to maintain good posture your body will revert back to old ways. But there are many great videos out there to help out. We like this one but there are many more out there to suit your needs.
6. Lower Back Pain
The WHO estimates that lower back pain is estimated to effect 60% to 70% of the population in industrialised countries. Although not all of it is directly correlated to sitting, it would be interesting to see how much these figures changed if we were all moving every 30 minutes. Sitting causes your hip flexors to shorten, (the muscles that lift your knee toward your body) and poor posture can cause decompression in your spinal discs which can lead to soreness. If you’ve not heard of it before one issue that arises from a weak back and stomach is Anterior Pelvic Tilt. This website has a great set of exercises to combat the issue.
Our bodies are great complex systems able to do so much more than just sitting! If you find there just isn't enough time to even attempt these exercises, remember the story of the tortoise and the hare - little and often always wins. 🐢 🐇