When Is Sitting Dangerous To Your Health?
Before you read any further, are you sitting down? If you are, take note of how you're sitting. Are you sitting up straight, or are you slouching?
Many people say they like to slouch because they feel more comfortable than sitting straight. When in fact, your body is actually more comfortable when you are practicing good posture, which means that your body is correctly aligned and well-supported.
We all remember, when we were younger, our mothers telling us to put our shoulders back and stand or sit up straight and tall...you probably didn't understand how important that really was, and I'm not sure that our mothers did either. But poor posture, standing or sitting, is not good for our health.
Side effects from having bad posture
- Back and shoulder pain - when your spine isn't aligned properly it can create pain in your back, shoulders, neck, and can even cause headaches.
- Inefficient breathing - poor posture cramps your diaphragm by reducing the amount of space it needs to contract and release after every breath, preventing you from taking in the amount of oxygen your body needs to function correctly.
- Poor circulation - being slouched over all the time decreases the blood circulation in your body.
- Fatigue - your energy levels are affected by poor posture due to inefficient breathing, poor circulation, which also weakens your muscles and joints.
- Heartburn - as you slouch, you put pressure on your abdomen, forcing stomach acid to travel up to your esophagus.
Why do we sit so much?
Many of us spend up to, or over, 6 hours daily...sitting. We're at our desks, at our computers, watching television, driving or riding in a car or other means of transportation, or talking on the phone. That's a lot of sitting. But sitting isn't the problem, rather it's how we sit.
So how can you sit better?
- Sit up straight - whether at a desk or on a couch, don't sit slumped over...keep your spine straight and your shoulders back.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor - avoid crossing your knees or ankles. Although crossing them for short periods of time isn't damaging, if done in excess can cause nerve damage, slow down your blood flow, and cause your body to hunch over. If you are sitting in a chair that is too tall and you can't touch the floor, use a stool to place your feet on. Better yet, get a chair that fits you.
- If you need to sit at a desk for long hours, support your back with some type of lumbar support that will preserve the natural curvature.
- Sit with your head squarely above your shoulders, don't let it tilt forward, which puts a lot of pressure on your spine.
- Don't sit there all day! Take time to stand, move around and do a little stretching. This should probably be done at least every 2 hours.
- If you use a computer, make sure it is positioned at a level that you can see it without tilting your head forward.
- Avoid holding your phone between your shoulder and your ear. Doing this for extended periods will cause stress in your neck and upper back.
- Schedule regular chiropractic visits. Your chiropractor can help you maintain a healthy spine, improve your posture and overall health and give you tips that are designed for you and the ergonomics of your lifestyle