Guest Post - The Worst Thing You Can Do To Your Back Is Sit for a Long Time
The Worst Thing You Can Do To Your Back Is Sit for a Long Time
Short of extreme sports, anyway. Here are some ways you can work smarter.
Human beings were not built to sit still for eight hours (or more) a day. That’s a proposition that most people accept fairly readily, but we still structure much of our work and leisure around long periods of sitting—generally in unnatural positions that can make things like chronic back injury, varicose veins, sciatica, and even hemorrhoids more likely. Here are a few simple changes you can make to be healthier and more comfortable whether you’re at home or at work.
1. Take walks
This might seem obvious, but you may underestimate how important and valuable it can be to break up your work routine with a quick walk. Long periods of sitting, especially if you have poor posture, will put uneven strain on the muscles that hold your spine erect, causing them to become inflamed or develop unevenly. By getting up and taking a walk, you break the pattern of poor posture and force your back muscles to work in a healthier way.
2. Maintain good muscle tone
Muscle tone is the normal tension in your muscles that is always present, even when you’re sitting at the computer. People who work out regularly develop good muscle tone, which means that their muscles are constantly working, albeit at a diminished level. This can make prolonged periods of sitting less harmful to your back, since your muscles will already be trained and working in a healthy way, so your posture will be better and sitting will be less disruptive.
3. Set aside a “break space”
If you have a home office, or enough space in your office at work, set aside a place to take a break. Don’t just lean back in your office chair—it’s important, both for your mind and your body, to change things up. If you can swing it, buy a comfortable chair for the corner of your office so that when your back starts to feel tight or sore, you can recline or even lie down flat and give it a rest. Obviously this will depend on the kind of work environment you’re in, but if it’s acceptable with your work culture, it can make a big difference.
4. Don’t eat at your desk
This goes for quite a few things—if you have an excuse to get up from your chair, take it. If you’re just grabbing a snack from the vending machine, take a walk while you eat. If you’re eating lunch, do it in the break room. Eating at your keyboard is terribly unsanitary anyway, but it’s especially a bad idea if you’re worried about back trouble. The limited work you might get done in half an hour with a sandwich in one hand is not worth the trouble a bad back will give you.
5. Try leaning back
Some in the ergonomics community have recently advocated sitting at a 135-degree angle (leaning back) rather than sitting up straight at your desk. If you find yourself constantly squirming in your seat to get comfortable, compromising between hunching forward and slouching back, your back might be telling you that sitting at 90 degrees just isn’t working. It might take some adjustments to your office environment, but try leaning back for a couple days, and see how it feels. This will be easier if you have an adjustable tray for your keyboard to help you type normally, and you may need to tilt your display. If it causes neck strain or forces you into an uncomfortable typing position, stop doing it; but if it works for you, go for it!
About The Author
Gina M Casillo is a staff writer for Serenity Living Stores, your choice place to buy a Barcelona chair. She enjoys decorating the bedrooms for her active twin boys and writing about home décor – especially when it comes to the spaces she’s most intimate with.
Picture courtesy of Pinterest.
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