The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) studies show 60 to 85 percent of people in the world lead a sedentary lifestyle, they believe this equates to approximately 2 million deaths per year being attributed to physical inactivity, prompting WHO to issue a warning that a sedentary lifestyle could very well be among the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world.
A sedentary lifestyle can also damage your spinal health! This happens because while you are in a sitting position you place stress on the discs between the vertebrae, leading to increased inflammation, which causes pain and early degeneration of the spine.
Prolonged sitting can also be a contributing factor to poor postural habits. Did you know after sitting in a slouched position for as little as five minutes, it can be difficult to reposition the lower spine in a correct, neutral position.
So at this point, we hope you are asking yourself, ‘How do I sit right?’
Well, to answer your question, we have gathered a few tips and resources to help you ‘sit right’ and lead a healthier lifestyle.
You can improve your health simply by standing up and moving around more.
- Especially if you are someone who has an office job, where you are likely sitting from 9am-5pm. Try getting on your feet every 20-40 minutes; maybe set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to do so. You should aim to at least stand up and have a little stretch every 20-40 minutes. We recommend, going on a walk around the office, grabbing or refilling your glass of water or tea, or simply standing up and doing a few little stretches, have a little jump or shake to loosen up your body.
- When you take a call or stop to chat with a fellow co-worker, try standing and moving around versus sitting at your desk.
- Another trick to help break up the sitting time is to introduce ‘walking meetings’ into your workplace. Instead of meeting in boardroom or over coffee to discuss this weeks workload, walk around the block while catching up.
A recent study1, has shown significant reductions in short-term discomfort were reported in the shoulders, upper back, and lower back when sedentary workers used reminder software, to prompt them to get up and move every 20-30 minutes. It’s interesting to note; not only did workers discomfort decrease but productivity was found to increase by about 10%.
Regular Physical Activity
Incorporating regular physical activity into your day is a great way to improve your overall health. This could be as simple as walking or jogging, getting involved in playing sport or an exercise class.
If you are unsure what kind and how much exercise you should be doing on a daily basis, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr Bailey to discuss these concerns.
Posture While Sitting
It is important to have an ergonomic workstation, especially if you spend a lot of time at it. Our dedicated team works hard to provide our patients with resources to help you set up an ergonomic workstation best suited for your spine and health.
Ergonomic Workstation Resources:
- Fill out our Workstation Assessment Form, which can be found under Patient Education on our Resources page.
- Refer to our Workstation Assessment Guide on our FREE Mobile App. Available for both iPhone and Android
- Follow our Social Media pages to see weekly tips and advice, frequently over ergonomic workstations and posture.
If you feel you could benefit from discussing your current sitting and/or posture habits with a professional, or would like advice on creating an ergonomic workstation suited for your spine, please make an appointment to see our Chiropractor, Dr Robert Bailey. Chiropractors are fully qualified and registered health professionals who are highly trained to diagnose and/or treat conditions of the neuromuscular skeletal system. Dr. Bailey works with many other medical professionals and will always refer to your GP or other Medical Specialist if your condition required further investigation.
1 Postural Variability: An Effective Way to Reduce Musculoskeletal Discomfort in Office Work – Kermit G. Davis and Susan E. Kotowski. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society published online 4 April 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0018720814528003.
The online version of this article can be found at: http://hfs.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/04/0018720814528003