Sitting is the new
silent killer (overtaking cigarettes… which isn’t quite that silent since those people are constantly coughing, but I digress). We spend most of our lives sitting: commute to work, at work, at home, on the toilet… literally the majority of our day is spent sitting. So what is the correct posture? It is an upright and relaxed position, like in position 1 below.
(image @vinnierehab – Myodetox)
When asked to sit up “straight” most people move from slumped over like position 2 to overcorrecting to position 3. This position is impossible to maintain, so what ends up happening is that people then alternate between a slumped back and a tense back, neither of which are healthy.
How do I know if I am sitting in the proper position? Find your “SITS bones” (ischial tuberosity). When you sit down in a chair there are two bony prominences/hard bumps and you want to be sitting right on top of them. You can double check that you are in the right spot by tilting forwards or backwards, you will feel them move. It takes a while to train yourself to sit in the correct position, but it will be so worth it if you are spending the majority of your day in a chair.
But what can you do to prevent yourself from sitting your life away? Get up and move (if you can) or constantly alternate your position in your chair.
This is my method:
1. Find the most uncomfortable chair in your workplace.
2. Alternate your sitting position every 10-15 minutes. I know this sounds excessive but what I do is I sit on the edge of my chair in basically an assisted lunge position, alternating which leg is forward, and then I move to sit fully in my seat, and then I get up and walk around.
Sidenote: A good reason to get up would be to hydrate… just saying.
What else can you do? Strength your postural muscles!
This is a super easy exercise that only requires a bit of theraband. Portable AF! Just make sure you don’t shrug your shoulders during the movement and keep the action concentrated between your shoulder blades.
This is a great way to strength your muscles while reading endless documents as well as an excellent way to make all your coworkers think you’re nuts. But jokes on them! Your postural muscles will keep you poised while they slump into submission.
My knowledge on this topic does not necessarily come with the type of resources that I provided previously as this mainly comes from having been in school and the network of health practitioners I have aligned myself with. However, I did get the image of the various types of sitting and your spine alignment from Vinh Pham of Myodetox. If you are really interested he is an amazing resource and so blunt with it and spreading the knowledge.