Think about how many hours per day you spend sitting. Now, think about how many hours per day you spend on your feet? In this article, I will mention some of the detriments of being sedentary, as well as several simple adjustments that you can do to ensure that your body is at its optimal, even after long days at the office, sitting in a car or visiting with family on a comfy couch.
Did you know that sitting is not considered a natural position for the human body to be in? While we now have hundreds of options for seating including stability balls, ergonomic chairs and padded seats, the seated position is not a position that we ever find ourselves in ‘naturally’.
Posture and mobility have a lot to do with how comfortable you are sitting, standing and moving through your daily activities.
Here are 3 simple adjustments to be mindful of throughout the day that can make a huge difference in your posture:
- When sitting, focus on keeping your core tight. Your core (abdominals) work to keep your torso upright, sitting back in a chair actually causes your abs to relax and soften. The next time you are sitting at your desk or at the table for a meal – mindfully position yourself closer to the edge of the chair; with your spine erect, and both feet flat on the floor. Pull your shoulders back and sit tall. If you have gotten in to the habit of sitting ‘comfortably’ in your chair at work – this will not be a quick fix. It will take some diligence and perhaps even a little reminder. One tip is to set an alarm or reminder on your phone or another device that will trigger you to reassess your seated posture.
- Better yet – stand! Standing desk have becoming increasingly popular once the phrase ‘sitting is the new smoking’ was coined. While you may not be in the market for a state of the art standing desk, there are plenty of ways to create a standing space in your home, office or cubicle. Try stacking your lap top or monitor on thick books or a sturdy box. If standing all day is too much too soon, then try standing for 20 minutes a day and increase by 10 minutes each week.
When standing, it is still important to be mindful of your body position and posture. It is easy to favor one side while standing – putting the majority of your weight on one leg, or popping out your hip to one side. Think about standing with even weight distribution with your toes facing forward, rather than turning out. Or, if you find yourself a little restless while standing, a varied surface such as a Wurf board is a unique option that can promote subtle activity throughout the day and while potentially burning more calories.
- Do you take conference calls or attend meetings during the day? While it may not always be realistic to get up and move around during these calls or meetings, whenever the opportunity presents itself: go for a walk. It can be out in nature or just around your building or office space. Bring your phone and headset, or gather your colleagues and schedule a ‘walking meeting’ where you discuss the topics at hand while on your feet. Research shows that this type of movement actually stimulates the brain and can result in new ideas and inspiration.
Hopefully you found these tips to be helpful. As always, be sure to listen to your body. If you find that you become uncomfortable or ache while standing or sitting, be sure to take some time to assess your discomfort.