According to research, the average person spends 9.3 hours sitting each day! I don’t know about you, but that’s actually more time than I sleep every night.
Most of these sitting hours are racked up in sedentary office jobs. So if we’re spending most of our waking hours glued to a chair, we may as well learn to sit right...right?
Because in fact, poor posture can hurt your health!
According to experts, slouching or sitting with a maligned posture can cause the following health concerns:
- Unnecessary pressure and wear on tear upon your ligaments and joints
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Higher incidence of accidents
- Pain - particularly in the lower back, neck or shoulders
Perhaps most importantly, hunching reduces your lung capacity by up to 30%! It makes sense - your lungs and diaphragm need space to expand as you breathe. Oxygen is the elixir of life; we need full breathing to feel calm, energized and focussed.
How Can I Create Good Posture?
Good posture is the body’s preferred biomechanical alignment. This means that the head, shoulders and spine are stacked correctly and minimal force is applied to your joints and muscles.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure good posture in the office:
- Place your feet flat on the floor (dangling feet puts extra pressure on the spine)
- Adjust your chair so that your knees are bent at a right angle
- Enlist some extra lumbar support by using the curve of a chair to support your lower back, or alternatively use a lumbar pillow or rolled towel
- Adjust your computer screen to sit at approximately eye level
- Keyboards should be at a height that allow you to type without scrunching up your shoulders or craning your neck
Other Tips That Can Help
Maintaining good posture while you sit is a wonderful achievement. However, there’s a larger issue at hand which affects our health and ability to sustain good posture; sitting for extended lengths of time.
If you are sitting for 9.3 hours on a daily basis, maintaining good posture is likely to slip from your mind from time to time. Here are some other options to break up sitting time, refresh your muscles and joints, oxygenate your system and reestablish good posture:
- Stand up and briefly stretch or walk around at least every 20 minutes
- Invest in a standing desk or work for some time standing at a bench
- Trial a fit ball - these engage core muscles and encourage better posture
- Try some office stretches (you’ll feel so much better for it!)
- Breathe deeply and create a conscious practice for this
Last but not least, learn more! We have spoken at length with Dr. Rhea Zimmerman, Chiropractor, about the impact of posture and chiropractic care upon the entire nervous system. You can watch the interview on FMTV here.