Move Better, Rest Better: Part 2 – Sitting

Sitting right.

Let me start this point by saying it outright: Sitting for long periods isn’t healthy! A lot of current research shows that sitting for extended periods can be as detrimental to your health as smoking! So we should try to sit as little as we can. How about getting a standing desk? Or having a walking meeting? There are many ways we can sit less, but sometimes it’s just not possible, so we have to ensure that our seat is set up right as well, supporting our spine.

I tend to follow three simple rules for setting up my seat:

  • Make sure your hips are higher than your knees. Try popping some books or towels under your bottom if you can’t adjust the height of your chair. This keeps your spine up straighter and reduces stress on your lower back.
  • Don’t rely on your backrest. If your seat is set up at the right height, you shouldn’t feel like you have to lean on the backrest for support. Having to rely on a backrest is also a sign that you may have been sitting for too long and need to get up and move about!
  • Watch the position of your head. Is it sitting above your shoulders? If your head is in front of your shoulders, it can add to the strain on the joints and muscles in the back of your neck. An easy way to keep your head in the right position is to imagine an invisible string attached to the top of your head. Now imagine someone pulling that string towards the ceiling. This should straighten out your spine, keep your head above your shoulders and tuck your chin in!

Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 7/8/14

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