Why It's Bad to Sit All Day (+ 6 Tips to Help!)
Tips For Those Who Sit All Day
Obesity, heart disease, back pain, migraines -- the list goes on. Many studies have linked these medical issues to being in a constant seated position. There are many statistics out there from all over the world that all say the same thing: sitting down all day is bad for you!
Just because you hit the gym after work, it doesn’t mean it will counter all the negative effects from practicing bad posture over time. It helps to reduce them, but the damage is still there.
More and more companies are taking part in providing substitutes to what the regular office setup looks like. Businesses now take advantage of providing stand-up desks, yoga ball chairs, treadmill desks, anything and everything ergonomic to support their staff -- but sometimes, things may not fit into your work habits or lifestyle.
And you would rather just sit.
And that is okay to do, but if that's is the route you want to take make sure you are sitting correctly!
EFFYDESK has put together 6 helpful tips and insights for you to keep in mind, if you'd prefer to sit instead.
1. We Don’t All Sit The Same
Now, you may be thinking, “Sitting is sitting, why do I need tips to sit?”
And that is a valid question.
But most people don’t think about, is that sitting is an act that's very personal to the person doing it. Someone 5 feet tall may need a footrest under their desk in order to have proper footing, whereas someone 6 feet tall may not experience that problem.
You also need to consider that perhaps someone physically is not capable of sitting straight due to poor muscles or other conditions. Sitting up straight requires the core muscles for movement, and if those muscles are not properly engaged or worked on regularly, they won’t be able to support your body properly.
PRO TIP: Doing regular exercises, such as planks, squats, or ab workouts to strengthen those muscles will help to ensure they are fully engaged.
2. How Do You Know If You’re Sitting Correctly?
Starting from the top down, there are things you should be doing with your body.
- The center of your monitor should be at eye level. This avoids any unnecessary head movements to see your screen
- Ensure your monitors are about an arm’s length away from you.
- Your shoulders should be rolled back and relaxed, away from your ears with your shoulder blades.
- Keep those arms tucked to your side elbows at 90 degrees.
- Hands need to be in front resting on your keyboard and your mouse within reach to avoid the need to go too far between one or the other.
- Make sure you are sitting up straight but you should still have a natural lower back curve. Use a low back support cushion if needed!
- Don’t sit close to the edge of your chair, you should be sitting at the very back to allow yourself to rest against the chair itself.
- Your thighs should be parallel to the floor with your feet flat on the ground. Adjust your chair or desk, and use a foot rest if needed.
- Never cross your legs, and avoid leaning on one side. Not only will you be out of alignment, but you could do harmful long term damage to your spine.
3. Just Because Your Back Doesn’t Hurt Doesn’t Mean You’re In The Clear
Bad posture is a whole body effect, from your head to your toes. Poor posture can wreak havoc on it all. Sitting improperly can cause your elbows to hurt, or even give you headaches or migraines. You could even feel pain in the arches of your feet.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is also a very real threat towards your joints including your knees and is on the rise in many office environments.
Focusing on proper posture in just the lower back and not thinking about the rest of your body is a very common mistake, which people should address immediately.
4. You Are Not A Statue
Just like with standing desks, you should never be in one position for long periods of time.
The ideal situation is taking breaks every 30-60 minutes for 10 minutes at a time. When the body starts to get uncomfortable, it tends to shift and move unconsciously to relieve the discomfort, which leads to bad posture.
This natural response to being stationary is your opportunity to grab that snack, fill up your water bottle, or just take a quick lap around the office and stretch those legs.
Getting that blood flow moving again has the added benefit of increasing concentration when you get back to your desk! Just always remember to reset and get back into proper position upon your return.
5. Proper Sitting Position Is Not Just For Computer Use
When you go to a meeting, conference, or classroom lecture, proper sitting position should be used at all times.
Your feet should be flat on the floor, back straight with a natural curve to the lower spine, arms to your side, shoulders back and down.
Just because you are not using a computer or looking at a monitor screen using a keyboard doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of how you sit, or stand, for that matter!
6. Home Time Is Your Time
Creating a proper sitting position habit takes time and energy. When you are at home, sometimes you don’t want to think about ergonomics.
But keep in mind, small changes will do wonders.
Remember -- sit up a little bit straighter when you watch TV, get that lumbar support for the drive into work, and get up to walk around the block for some fresh air from time to time!
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