I don’t have to tell you that more people sit for longer periods of time than generations before them. We start it at 4 and 5 years old; grooming our children to learn how to sit for hours at a time at school. We sit in the car, at work, at restaurants, at school, and like I am currently, sitting on the couch typing this post. And don’t even get me started on video games!
Most often than not, all of this sitting is in a chair of similar height and position regardless of whether it’s in the car, dining room, couch, or restaurant. Our knees are at or lower than our hips, our pelvis is rotated forward, our shoulders are rounded and our ears are ahead of our shirt seams. Hell, even our toilets are the same height and our bodies aren’t even designed to use the bathroom in that position! (See: Squatty Potty)
All of this sitting is so bad for us. WE WERE MADE TO MOVE. We were NOT made to stand still. We were NOT made to sit in a chair. Our bodies were made to move and squat. We were made to sit on the ground, and bend and twist, and lift heavy things, and run. We were designed for movement, and the less movement we have, the more stuck we get.
The ergonomics market is HUGE: from theraballs to fancy chairs to lumbar supports, we work so hard to cater to the “sitting epidemic” instead of changing it altogether. Sure standing desks are great because you aren’t sitting, but you are still staying in one position and guess what? Usually, your spine is in the same position as you were when you are sitting.
Freaking get up and move.”
Solution: Freaking get up and move. We need to squat throughout the day, move our body in as many directions as possible, try new activities, pick up heavy things, and challenge our system.
You have to sit for work? I get it, you can’t be the “weird one” doing jumping jacks and squat jumps in your cubicle every 20 minutes. So that means, that you need to get after it when you aren’t at work. Strength training is going to be super important for you, because you aren’t moving as much through the day, you need to replace that movement with some resistance and lifting. Walking alone is not enough. Did you hear me? Walking is an activity that involves forward motion in one direction. You need rotation, lateral movement, overhead reaching, backwards balancing, and all those other wonderful directions that our body is capable of doing. You need variety in your movements, different levels of weight and resistance, and good coordination.
Have you ever heard the phrase: if you don’t use it, you lose it. This is EXACTLY what happens when you sit too much. Your spine becomes too extended, and you lose the ability to flex at small segments, and then you start to lose mobility in larger segments. This doesn’t happen overnight, but very small increments over years. Just look at most people over the age of 80 that sit in wheelchairs or in their recliner all day. That is years of progressive prolonged sitting and inactivity. That’s what you will look like early on if you don’t start getting up and getting moving.
So start doing something about it tomorrow. Start reversing your poor posture. No amount of “I’m just going to try and sit up tall” is going to fix it. There is so much more to it. If you are already having pain while sitting for a long period of time, you most likely have already developed a postural issue. You don’t want to wait to get it addressed; over time, your posture will continue to regress and you will start to have disc breakdown in your spine. Get up. Get moving. Get your problems addressed. Live a better, happier, and healthier life.
Are you having pain when you are sitting at work? You most likely have a postural deficit. Visit here to learn more about postural assessments and how they can benefit you!