Whether you have a full time job, are still in school or anything in between, it can be way to easy to find ourselves sitting for eight or more hours each day. It is pretty common knowledge that moving more and staying active goes along with increased health and well-being. But what happens when we are sedentary for long periods at a time? Let’s take a look inside our bodies:
- Weakened Core Muscles – Our abdominal muscles are what keep us upright and when we are sitting down for a while our abs often go unused. This puts more stress on our back muscles which can exaggerate the natural arch of our spine (called hyperlordosis).
- Poor Circulation – Sitting for long periods also slows down circulation of blood causing fluid to pool in the legs which can lead to problems including varicose veins, swollen ankles and deep vein thrombosis).
- Tight Hips – The flexibility in our hips helps to keep us balanced. When seated for a long period of time, the hip flexors become short and tight giving the body a limited range of motion.
- Damage to Disks – Sitting more = greater risk for herniated lumbar dics. Some herniated discs cause no symptoms while others can irritate nerves causing pain, numbness or weakness in limbs.
- Neck Strain – If most of your time is spent leaning forward over a keyboard or talking on a phone, you could be putting excess strain on the cervical vertebrae (which can lead to permanent imbalance).
No matter what you do for a living, sitting is something that cannot be avoided. Follow these guidelines for sitting the right way.
- Align ears with shoulders
- Computer monitor(s) are at eye level
- Shoulders relaxed
- Hips pushed back into chair
- Knees in line with hips
- Feet flat on the floor
Make the most of your time seating by maintaining proper posture. Take things to the next level by getting up and moving around for a few minutes every 30 minutes.