Sit Up Straight

Remember when your mom always told you to sit up straight and stop slouching?  Well she was right!  The average person spends approximately 8 hours a day sitting.  This includes sitting at work, in the car/bus, and at home.  That’s a lot of time on our butts with our muscles and joints not doing much (except for our brain).   Studies show when seated, pressure to your low back increases to 150% and sitting when slouching increases up to 180%.  With all of that in mind, we need to be very aware of how we position ourselves and whether or not we have the right chair.  80% of people will eventually experience low back pain at some point in their life.  To protect your back and prevent pain, it is important to keep your spine in a neutral position.  This position puts the least amount of stress through your spine.

To find spine neutral:

-sit with your feet on the ground

-try to keep your knees at the same level of slightly lower than your hips

-find a comfortable position with pressure right through your sit bones, neither slumped or too straight, but in the middle.

-draw your shoulder blades back and down

-adjust your chair to keep you supported in this position, use low back support as needed (towel, pillow, sweater)

-avoid crossing your legs

To sit back or reclined:

-maintain your neutral position and open up at your hips by leaning backward

-use pillows or towel rolls to keep your back supported

It is also important to take micro-breaks when sitting every 30 minutes.

Hints to make sure you are taking breaks…

-move the printer farther away from your desk and get up frequently to retrieve copies

-drink more water, you also end up making more trips to the restroom.

-computer software that reminds you to take a break

-set up a kitchen timer to go off when needed

Things to look for in a good chair:

-make sure the seat in your chair can adjust up and down so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees

– when supported by the back of your chair, make sure that the back of your knees do not touch the seat

-make sure that your chair is not too wide or narrow.

-your chair should have good lumbar support.

-with arm support, your elbows should be about 90 degrees

Best way to find the right chair is TRY them out yourself, many stores have a good return policy if it doesn’t work out.

You can also ask your employer for a workstation ergonomic evaluation.  When all else fails, remember what your Mom said:   “Sit up straight!”


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