Many of us spend a significant portion of our day with our rear ends planted on the chair. This could be due to the nature of our work or just the confines of reality, as there are certain actions that cannot be performed while standing or walking.
The problem arises when you spend too much time in a single firm position in front of your computer. This position was not designed to accommodate our body structure.
As a result, we experience muscle pain in our shoulders, sensitivity, a stiff neck, headaches and a few other side effects that are much better prevented than tolerated.
It's true that no study has been able to find a direct link between the manner in which we sit down and the appearance of pain and injury. That being said, when we sit down in front of the computer, we tend to sit with our back in a more rounded position, which could lead to pain and certain motor impairments regarding our spine, pelvis and the general area of our back.
There is no one way that is strictly recommended for sitting down, but there are some general guidelines that prevent physical stress.
1) Avoid sitting down with a crouched back for too long. Some of us will find it more comfortable to support our lower backs while sitting down via a supportive cushion. Staying closer to a neutral stance While sitting down for a prolonged period of time could help prevent pain.
2) Maintain a comfortable sitting stance for as long as you possibly can. Make sure that your feet touch the ground, or an elevated object, maintain a 90 degree angle in your elbows, enable the possibility of leaning and grant support to your wrists while keeping your shoulders loose.
A physical therapist Could provide some recommendations on the issue, according to your specific body type and muscle behavior.
3) Take the occasional break. It is highly recommended to prevent a situation where you're sitting down for too long in any one particular stance, and taking short breaks every 30 to 40 minutes is highly recommended.
This break can be very short and comprised of no more than standing up and walking around the room. Taking some sort of physical action as my, as minute as it may be, could help relieve muscle tension, thus preventing back pains and and pressure on your spine.
4) Loosen up your shoulders. Unwinding them and carrying out free motion, such as rolling your shoulder forward, up and then back, will lessen muscle tension.
This simple exercise can be performed several times a day. It is quite beneficial when it comes to alleviating pain and muscle fatigue, as well as serving as a sort of tool for learning a new pattern in which to stabilize yourself in a way that loosens up your shoulders and gets the blood flowing.
5) Hydrate and do so often. Sitting down for a prolonged period of time, especially when you have very rigid deadlines at work to adhere to, could cause us to be forgetful when it comes to taking important actions such as drinking.
A satisfactory amount of water intake is crucial for several reasons. Among others, it enables the proper function of our central nervous system, our brain and our muscles.
6) Avoid holding your cell phone in between your ear and your shoulder. We understand that sometimes you're in a position where both your hands are otherwise occupied, but it is still a bad idea, because it causes undue strain on your muscles, leading to pain.
7) Perform a bit of physical exercise during your work day. Some exercises are easily done, even inside your work environment.
These may include standing up and then sitting down (a sort of squat, if you will), using a resistance band that you can tie to your door knob and use it to make a rowing motion, as well as a few other exercises that enable the flow of blood and oxygen to your extremities, thus loosening up the muscles that were constricted while you were sitting down.
8) Go outside. Try leaving the office at least once a day, taking in some fresh air and being exposed to the rays of the sun, while walking and creating some body motion. This will lead to some positive reactions, both physically and mentally.
9) Don't forget to stretch. While standing up, walking around and performing those physical exercises, it is also worthwhile to stretch your muscles during your work day.
It helps maintain a good muscle balance between those in your hip, your chest and your shoulders. This is important as those are the muscle groups that have a high likelihood of constricting while remaining seated for a long time.
10) Put some variation in your routine. Try to mix it up as far as your daily schedule works. Change the position of the chair, alter the times in which you perform physical activity, as well as the moments you pick to take the occasional break.
Ofer Zahar is a licensed physiotherapist and owner of +Physio Fitness