Here’s a quick blog, written by Bonney about how we can make small adjustments to posture when we’re sitting down, especially now a lot of us are working from home.
The saying ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ was never truer, especially for this picture.
I don’t usually sit a lot and I’m definitely noticing some changes in my body as this has increased over the last few weeks. I’ve set myself an area where I can stand to use my laptop, but ultimately, I end up sitting for most of the time. Whether I’m studying, working, helping the kids with schoolwork or the odd Netflix binge, sitting is taking the majority. Moving between both sitting and standing does help though.
So, what happens when we sit too much, especially in poor posture?
When we slouch (inevitable after sitting for more than a few minutes) it compromises our diaphragm and pelvic floor function (working as a unit these contribute to facilitating breathing). Less than optimal functioning results in a reduced flow of oxygenated blood around the body, leaving you tired, sluggish and unable to concentrate, amongst other things.
Your head weighs approximately 5kg and should sit “on top” of your spine. Sat at a desk, in the car or slumped in front of the TV it ends up in front of the body. For every 2.5cm it leans forward you add an additional 4kg of pressure to your cervical spine! This results, over time in the ligaments that support the head losing their tension. The surrounding muscles then must take over this job. You potentially end up with muscular pain, headaches, reduced movement, pins and needles in the arms and hands, I could go on……….
Is standing better?
Just like sitting, we can stand badly. Less easy to slouch, but easy to shift one hip to the side, or favour one leg. Standing is good IF you do it well. By well, I mean getting the bones in the right place, so the muscles are able to work correctly.
Having looked at several studies, the overriding opinion is to move between the two, if you can. Avoiding doing either for extended periods of time and starting with 20-30 mins of standing at a time, when you introduce it. If you can, stand bare foot, or at least without shoes. This allows the foot to splay naturally and the weight to be evenly distributed.
Roll your feet before you start on a mobility ball, a tennis ball or can of beans. Waking up the foot, its fascia and musculature will help you stand better. Pay attention to how you stand. Feet about shoulder width apart, knees are soft, think of having a long spine, ear lobes in line with your shoulders, which are relaxed and not rounded forward.
What can help if I’m working at a desk all day?
Move every hour, set a timer if necessary.
Eyes want to be in a straight line with your screen, not below horizontal.
Sit or stand upright, so your head sits on top of the shoulders.
Regularly rest your eyes from the screen.
Elbows at 90’ for typing.
Do some simple exercises to help combat poor posture and tight muscles. I’ve made a short video to accompany this blog, which you can see below or on social media.
Try Pilates or yoga – not only to combat sitting or increased inactivity, but to help with your training, injury prevention and to gain that general feeling of fabulousness.