The Best Ways to Offset the Effects of Sitting Down All Day

by Specialized Orthopedics December 15, 2016
The new sayings today are “Sitting is bad for you” or “Sitting is the new smoking.” Does your job require more than 6 hours of sitting? Do you go home and watch television while sitting on your couch? Do you eat dinner sitting down? And sleep for 6-8 hours? If you answered yes and add those hours up, then about 75% of your day is either sitting down or laying down. It’s not that sitting is necessarily bad for you but rather not moving that is bad for you. Maintaining the same position all day is what is bad for you. We have all learned over the years, a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy so to help offset the effects of sitting, you need to move!
Sitting, especially with bad posture, can contribute to weak core muscles which can eventually lead to back pain. The muscles in front of your body will shorten and tighten while your back muscles start to weaken. Your spine is happiest in a neutral position and it is also happier with movement. Our bodies are meant to move, joints need fluid and nutrients to stay healthy which occurs with movement. If you sit all day for work, and do very little to offset the postures you may feel achy joints, muscle tightness and back pain. Try some of these tips to help decrease pain associated with sitting.

1. Move throughout your day.

prevent back pain by moving

  • Try to stand up or walk every 30 minutes to 1 hour even if it just for 2 minutes.
  • Every time you go use the bathroom do 10 body squats to get your legs activated again.
  • Climb the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk to lunch or café instead of driving.
  • Complete 20 sit to stands every 1-2 hours to get your blood moving and nutrients to your joints.

2. Change your posture throughout the day.

  • Instead of slouching, maintain more an erect,extended position.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades to activate your back muscles.
  • Open up your shoulders by holding arms in a doorway and leaning forward to stretch your chest muscles.
  • Stand with your arms on your hips and lean back 10 times to offset that forward flexed posture.

3. Exercise before or after work.

prevent back pain by exercising

  • You should be getting minimum of 30 minutes of exercise everyday, with the goal of getting up to 1 hour of exercise.
  • Walk, Run, Cycle and lift weights! Weights will help build your muscle strength which is required for functional tasks.
  • Without muscle strength, injuries are more likely to occur.
  • Strengthen the core muscles that keep your spine stable and help you maintain the proper posture throughout the day.
If your day involves you to sit for long periods of time, make sure to offset this with frequent movement, avoiding the same posture all day long and exercise! Remember our bodies are happy with movement not prolonged static positions.
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