by Will Forrester
Are you sitting down? Seriously, are you sitting down right now as you read this?
Well, if you’re a typical American, you are. We Americans love our chairs. We like them big and comfortable and we even put things like “lazy” in the name of some of our chairs. We are big on comfort. And you know what a lot of typical Americans experience as well? Back pain. And the more we sit, and the longer hours that we typically work, and the more we stare at screens (usually while sitting), the more back pain we experience.
Yes, there has been many improvements done in the types of chairs available so that we sit with better posture, but in some ways those comfortable or ergonomically designed chairs can actually work against us. Because we can sit LONGER and still “feel comfortable.”
Comfortable. Sitting. A lot. Sometimes all morning. Or even all day. But what feels good in the short term can lead to massive back pain later. We know heavy lifting and car wrecks and carrying too much weight contribute to experiencing lower back pain, but did you know that sitting too much is bad for your back? “Sitting puts nearly twice the stress on the spine as standing; slouching while you sit increases the pressure even more. That's because hunching forward pushes the back into a convex or C shape.”
“Yeah, but with my job, I have to sit a lot.”
Really? According to whom? Increasingly employers are recognizing the need for their employees to be able to perform at optimum levels, and most businesses are more than willing to accommodate people who want to do their work well while also maintaining optimum health. And you can do it.
But like any change, at first it can be touch. You have to break the habit of wanting to sit all the time. So, are there ways you could “fool yourself” into having to get up periodically as part of your work?
One thing I have done is gotten a cordless phone at work, and if possible I take my phone calls while walking outside with a pad and paper to take notes. I’m walking while I’m working. Other times I put my laptop on a higher surface so I can work while standing for part of the morning. Not only do I feel much better at the end of the day, but I’m also actually getting more done! My brain feels like it is firing on all cylinders as I allow myself the ability to experience more natural movement during the day rather than simply sitting.
So… are you still sitting down? Why not move around? Your back doesn’t get and stay healthy by being in one position all day long, particularly not sitting. We were meant to be on the move. So get up and get busy!