If you are an office worker you probably spend at least six or seven hours a day sitting on the job. Add more time sitting in the car, at dinner and lounging with some late night TV and the total hours of sitting rockets up to somewhere around ten hours.
When is the last time you thought about how you sit? Probably never or a long, long time ago.
Promise yourself that you’ll take a critical look at how you sit after you read this article. If you are sitting and reading this online, go ahead and freeze right now and really think about how you are sitting.
Compare your sitting position to this checklist.
- Sit with your legs uncrossed with ankles in front of the knees.
- Place both feet firmly on the floor. Get yourself a footrest if your feet don’t reach.
- Your knees should be lower than your hips and the back of your knees should not touch the seat.
If your chair has an adjustable backrest, move it to support the arch in your low back. If you don’t have a backrest, ask your employer about getting one or invest in it yourself.
Get up and move around every hour. Take a break from sitting even if you cannot stop working. Make a phone call standing up or close your office door and lie down for a few minutes on your stomach. At the very least, shift your sitting position occasionally.
Good posture is important for long term health and disease prevention just like daily tooth brushing. And, similar to tooth brushing, habits are formed early and can be hard to break later in life.
Good sitting posture reduces the stress and strain on ligaments. Ligaments are responsible for holding the joints together, so ligament stresses can make you prone to joint injuries. Proper posture also reduces muscle fatigue. When muscles are able to work efficiently they use less energy and don’t get tired as easily. Abnormal motions or positions that are repeated over and over again on a daily basis are contributors to degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
Most adults would readily agree that posture is important. Most of that group would also admit that they don’t actively think about posture…it just happens. For the next 30 days, make an effort to really think about your posture and pause a couple times per day to compare your current position to the checklist provided above. It takes about 30 days of focus to break an old habit or develop a new one, so if you concentrate on your sitting posture for 30 days, you’ll be well on your way to a lifetime of better musculoskeletal health.