On an average day an average person will sleep 8 hours, which means in the remaining 16 hours is filled with work, home duties, exercise and entertainment. If you break the day down further:

  • 6.30am exercise 30min
  • Breakfast get ready 1hr
  • Drive to work 45min
  • At work 4hrs
  • Lunch 45min
  • Work 4hrs
  • Drive home 45min
  • Dinner 45min
  • Tidy up 1hr
  • Watch TV/ read/ computer 2.5hrs
  • 10pm bed

You can see there is a lot of stationary time. This post isn’t about getting more exercise it’s about making sure there is enough movement through your day to ease the stress caused by sitting on your spine and pelvis.

With sitting for extended periods of time your body gradually collapses on itself. Your shoulders start to hunch which can cause neck strain, sore shoulders and lower back disc damage. When you slump your stomach muscles aren’t used and start to stretch which can over exaggerate your natural arch in your back. Also, your legs and glutes aren’t used which causes tightening of the hip flexor muscles and atrophy of the glute muscle group which then limits range in your movement and hurts your stability and ability to push off or get going.

This is only a brief description of what happens with you sit for long periods of time continuously. So here are a few ideas to help keep your muscles in optimum condition.

  • When you are sitting at your computer desk, either at work or at home, don’t lean forward, shoulders relaxed, arms tucked in, elbow at 90 degrees, lower back supported and feet flat on the ground.
  • If you’re on the phone, at home or work, try standing for the call.
  • If you have to take notes try using a whiteboard or flip chart.
  • Every 20-30 minutes stand up and go for a brief walk around. Even if it’s to fill up a glass of water to drink, this will also help to keep you hydrated.
  • At home, get up in commercial breaks and do a lap of the house.
  • Stretch your hips flexors once a day for about 3 minutes each side

Try yoga poses to improve the shape of you back, the cat and cow poses are easy as is the upward and downward dog poses.
Simple movement can have a massive effect. Firstly, you burn more calories walking around the house in commercial breaks rather than sitting and watching them, approximately 20% more. Secondly, muscles need activity to trigger important processes relating to breaking down fats and sugars in the body, sitting stalls this process. Lastly, movement is free so there’s no need to sign contracts. Humans need to move, just start now.

If you are feeling back pain or stiffness after sitting this is a sign that you might have an underlying back problem. If you’re struggling to stand after sitting this may also be a sign that something in your back is not biomechanically correct. See one of our chiropractors for a spinal assessment at Lakeside Chiropractic in Joondalup, 6027 to identify the underlying cause.

When sitting, sit as if you’re having tea with the Queen. For men make sure you wallet is out your back pocket as this un-levels your spine.

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