For most of us the answer is “yes”. How do you feel when you sit down? Many people enjoy sitting down, especially after exercise. But is sitting for long periods bad? Well in short yes it is. Many who work in an office may sit for at least 6 hours of the day, then when they get home sit in front of the TV for on average 3-4hours. So this could total at least 9 hours plus a day sitting time. What does this do to our bodies?
In short, at the molecular level, your body was designed to be active and on the move all day long. When you stop moving for extended periods of time, it’s like telling your body it’s time to shut down and prepare for death. Focusing on your posture though, The Mind Unleashed pointed out several problems associated with bad posture when sitting for long periods:
•Strained Neck and Shoulders: It’s common to hold your neck and head forward while working at a computer or cradling a phone to your ear. This can lead to strains to your cervical vertebrae along with permanent imbalances, which can lead to neck strain, sore shoulders and back.
•Back Problems: Sitting puts more pressure on your spine than standing, and the toll on your back health is even worse if you’re sitting hunched in front of a computer. It’s estimated that 40 percent of people with back pain have spent long hours at their computer each day.
The disks in your back are meant to expand and contract as you move, which allows them to absorb blood and nutrients. When you sit, the disks are compressed and can lose flexibility over time. Sitting excessively can also increase your risk of herniated disks.
So this is a serious problem.
An office worker made this remark, “after I reduced my normal 12 to 14 hours of daily sitting to under one hour, the back pain I’d struggled with for decades disappeared.”
What are some things that can help?
- Walk across the hall to talk to a coworker instead of sending an email
- Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator
- Park your car further away from the entrance
- Take a longer, roundabout way to your desk
Other things include:
- Use an Ergonomic Chair – There are many chairs that boast to support your back. Its best to look for a reputable manufacture, usually one that specialises in chairs alone. Such as KAB and Summit. These certified chairs feature technology that encourages the correct spine curvature.
- Organize the layout of your office space in such a way that you have to stand up to reach oft-used files, the telephone, or your printer, rather than having everything within easy reach.
- Use a standing workstation. For a demonstration on proper posture, whether you’re sitting or using a standing workstation watch this video. If you have a sit-down job, I would strongly encourage you to present this information to your employer and get a stand-up desk.
- Use an exercise ball for a chair. Unlike sitting in a chair, sitting on an exercise ball engages your core muscles and helps improve balance and flexibility. Occasional bouncing can also help your body interact with gravity to a greater degree than sitting on a stationary chair. But this is a concession and it is still sitting, so standing would be a better option.
- Set a timer to remind you to stand up and move about for at least 10 minutes each hour. You can either walk, stand, or take the opportunity to do a few simple exercises by your desk. For an extensive list of videos demonstrating such exercises, please see this article, “Intermittent Movement Benefits Your Health. Here’s How to Get More of It into Your Work Day.”
For more information regarding specialist back care chairs click here.
For a height adjustable workstation click here