According to research, the average person spends 9 hours 20 minutes sitting each day! I don’t know about you, but that’s actually more time than I sleep every night.
Most of these sitting hours are racked up in sedentary (and mostly) office jobs. So if we’re spending most of our waking hours glued to a chair, we may as well learn to sit right…right?
Because in fact, poor posture can hurt your overall health!
According to experts, slouching or sitting with a maligned posture can cause the following health concerns:
- Unnecessary pressure and wear on tear upon your ligaments and joints
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Higher incidence of accidents
- Pain – particularly in the lower back, neck or shoulders
Perhaps most importantly, hunching reduces your lung capacity by up to 30%! It makes sense – your lungs and diaphragm need space to expand as you breathe. Oxygen is the elixir of life; we need full breathing to feel calm, energized and focussed.
How Can I Adopt Good Posture?
Good posture is the body’s preferred alignment. This means that the head, shoulders and spine are placed correctly and minimum force is applied to your joints.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure good posture in the office:
- Place your feet flat on the floor (dangling feet puts unwanted pressure on the spine)
- Adjust your chair so that your knees are bent at a right angle
- Adjust your computer screen to sit at approximately eye level
- Keyboards should be at a height that allow you to type without scrunching up your shoulders or craning your neck
Some Other Tips
Maintaining good posture while you sit is nothing short of an accomplishment. However, there’s a larger issue at hand which affects our health and ability to sustain good posture; sitting for extended lengths of time.
We have spoken about the health risks of sitting extensively in this previous article. It heightens our risk of diabetes and heart diseases and has numerous metabolic impacts.
If you are sitting for 9 hours 20 minutes on a daily basis, maintaining good posture is likely to slip from your mind occasionally. Here are some other options to break up sitting time, refresh your muscles and joints, oxygenate your system and recreate good posture:
- Stand up and briefly to stretch or walk around at least every 20 minutes
- Invest in a standing desk or work for some time standing at a bench
- Try a fit ball – these engage core muscles and encourage better posture
- Try some office stretches (you’ll feel so much better after it!)
- Breathe deeply as a habit