Much to be said about what happens to our posture when we are a) sitting and b) focused on a screen. Sitting as a form of rest was originally in a squat position or close to ground level. Today few will argue against a comfy chair, but the amount of time we spend in them is creating what some refer to as an “inactivity crisis”.
Sitting is the new smoking is a phrase that suggests just how bad extended periods of sitting can be for us. Consider the time spent driving/commuting in the morning, sitting while working, driving/commuting home, and then time spent relaxing (in a sitting position) before going to bed. It all adds up to a lot of sitting. Questions concerning the impact over time of impaired circulation in the legs, as well as the impact of our upper body weight loaded on our lumbar spine and pelvis take sitting from a leisurely activity to a potential health concern.
We see this all the time in clients with tight hip flexors, rounded shoulders, forward head posture, decreased lumbar flexibility, shallow breathing, poor digestion, stiff joints. Just like that poor guy in the picture – but maybe not that bad…yet.
What to do? For the desk-bound, changing the work surface or the chair might improve sitting posture. Better, spend a few minutes each hour standing while working. That can be challenging if you’re bound to a screen, but finding small opportunities will add up. Five minutes per hour of getting up and moving around can have a better effect than 30 minutes done at the end of the day when the damage is already done. Walk more – we’ve been walking for all of our years except one and by design it supports our structure and circulatory systems.
This is a great case of the small things adding up to be a big thing. Five minutes here and there will act as a huge sigh of relief for your entire body, as your movement pumps blood and oxygen throughout your tissues and limbers all your joints. Need a reminder? You’ve probably got a device around you somewhere that you can set to beep at you on the hour. Maybe that one you’re hunched towards for hours every day, or the one on your wrist telling you how many steps you’ve taken (or not taken). Set it and get up!