Sitting for so long is Worst Position For Your Body: Experts Advice on Creating a Healthier Home Office.
By Adetoun Adeyemo. April 15th, 2020. 12:00pm
You’ve likely heard that sitting is the new smoking. Research suggests sitting for most of your day increases your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, that’s almost all of us. As technology keeps us strapped to computers and electronic devices, more of us are sitting for longer periods of time than ever before. And our health is suffering the consequences.
While you may not be able to swap your desk job for one that requires you to walk or stay active all day, there is one thing you can do to improve your health right now: Sit correctly. To avoid the effects of a lifetime of sitting, read on to learn how to find and maintain good posture. Plus, find out which gadgets really are worth the money if you’re trying to protect your bones for the future.
Finding the correct position for sitting requires you to follow a few simple steps. Each time you sit down, quickly repeat these steps to help your body settle into its best position.
First, start by sitting at the end of your chair. Roll your shoulders and neck forward into a full slouching position. Then, slowly pull your head and shoulders up into a tall sitting position. Push your lower back forward and accentuate the curves of your spine. This will likely feel forced and uncomfortable but hold for several seconds.
Release this sitting position slightly, and you’re sitting in a good posture position. Scoot yourself back in the chair until your back is against the chair and your hips are in the bend of the chair.
Now that you have your back in a good position, you need to address other factors that influence your posture, from where to put your feet to how far away your screen should be.
“The whole concept of Westernized societies sitting at a desk is a holdover from the industrial revolution,” Weiniger explains, emphasizing that the body is designed to move. “But it’s the world we live in, and it’s not going to change. So the question becomes: How can I adapt my routine and my postural habits, environment, and awareness so I can work from home well?”
Sitting for long periods of time can reduce blood flow and cause muscle fatigue. To prevent that, take frequent breaks. Stand up from your desk and move. When you take a break, stand up and walk away from your desk if you can. Get your blood flowing by doing some calf raises and shoulder shrugs. If you have the room, practice a few lunges or squats.
Several short breaks during the day are better than just a few long breaks. If you can, take a one- to two-minute break every 30 minutes. At the very least, get up and move around every hour.
Getting out of my head is certainly one of my self-care goals as I isolate with the rest of the world, and hope—perhaps in vain—to come out of this incredibly surreal time with my priorities reordered, having addressed at least some of my shortcomings in the process, postural and otherwise. relieve tension caused by poor posture, along with a good ice pack and some Biofreeze. It occurs to me that she’s likely been recommending similar stress-relieving solutions to me my whole life. It’s just that now, perhaps for the first time ever, I am physically—and emotionally—available to hear her. Something for the gratitude journal, then.
Whatever your set-up is, making an effort to regularly stand up and shift positions is key to preventing pain, soreness, and muscle tension. “You should be shifting positions every two to three minutes, no matter what,” says John Amaral, a Los Angeles-based energy practitioner, and trained chiropractor, whose healing work has made Gwyneth Paltrow cry, as the Goop founder recently revealed in an episode of her Netflix series, The Goop Lab. “Then every 30 minutes you need to take a two-minute break where you get up and move. The rule is 30-2,” continues Amaral, suggesting things like full-body squats with your arms out, simple back-arching stretches, or “just walking around” as a few ways to spend those two minutes getting your blood flowing and your mobility back. Making variations of movement a part of your daily routine, mimicking a normal day at the office when you would likely walk to attend meetings, to lunch, or, you know, to speak with other human beings, face to face.
Items you use frequently, such as a stapler, phone, or notepad, should be very close to you while you’re sitting. Stretching to reach items you need can strain muscles. Repeated twists and stretches may lead to joint pain.
During this Quarantine movement and sitting all day can be detrimental to your health. Still, you can do a lot to improve your health just by improving your posture while working from home. Investing in a few ergonomically designed products and learning to sit properly can go a long way to reducing wear and tear on your muscles and bones. Over the course of your Quarantine and career, this can really pay off as you avoid injuries, strains, and soreness.