In today’s society it can be hard to avoid long hours sitting each day. For most of us a typical day may start with sitting for breakfast, sitting on the commute to work, sitting at work, for lunch, on the way home from work, sitting for dinner and finally we are so pooped out come 8pm we sit on the couch for some much needed down time! While there are times of walking, exercising, and general moving about in between all of that, it’s pretty safe to say we spend A LOT of time on our butts.
So if we can’t go over it, can’t go under it we’ll have to go through it! Let’s learn how to sit better…
As an Osteopath I see many people with low back or neck pain when sitting or as a result of sitting for too long. In an ideal world I would suggest a number of little tips and tricks which everyone would go home and do when they walked out the door.
- Take regular movement breaks
- Try a different chair
- Get a standing and sitting desk
- Improve your posture with ergonomic gadgets
The reality is that these tips are great (otherwise I wouldn’t suggest them) but it doesn’t necessarily help us to sit better when we have to. Avoiding long periods of sitting and leading an active lifestyle everyday would solve so many health problems, but it can’t always be about avoiding the problem.
Let’s get good at sitting, and try not to do it when we don’t really have to.
Make sitting dynamic!
Most people associate sitting with being static – however if we can make the simple task of sitting more dynamic our joints and muscles will be far less aggravated and may even benefit from such a position.
To make your sitting more dynamic – try the following tips
- Elevate feet up on a small step or a couple of books
- Take your shoes off when sitting at your desk (let your feet and toes wiggle around)
- Place a tennis ball under your foot and massage your foot when sitting
- Place a folded towel under your tail bone to change the angle of your hips & low back
- Sit with narrow feet and knees, then swap to wide knees and feet feet, try having your feet crossed – just keep moving in your chair!
Your chair is important…
- A chair is similar to an orthotic for your feet – Orthotics can improve a persons foot, which makes the rest of their body move better but if you put the wrong orthotic on the wrong foot it can cause problems too. The same principles apply for your chair – what can be a good chair for one person may not be the best chair for your back.Get your Osteopath or Movement Specialist to assess you when sitting!
Now finally – Your end of day challenge!
To break up your sitting routine, I recommend taking on a sitting challenge! Instead of sitting on the couch at the end of a day, try floor sitting. Over time this will improve your hip mobility and strengthen your lower back.
I personally like the following positions… Try rotating these positions every few minutes, the options are endless.