Sitting Around and Paying the Price for it!

Sitting Around and Paying the Price for it!

It’s no secret, as more and more of our lives involve being on the computer, we spend more time sitting, and less time moving. What’s more, is that over the next few months lots of us who have gotten to work from home the last year and a half are going to be headed back into the office, meaning more time to sit and less time to get around and move!

A quick disclaimer – we’re seeing something really powerful happen at the Olympics right now with American gymnast Simone Biles putting her own wellbeing ahead of the importance of winning at the Olympics. This is an amazing thing! If, you feel that there is any reason in your life that your wellbeing at work, at home, or somewhere else is not being met, please stand up for yourself, put yourself first, and make sure that you are taken care of so that you have the opportunity to continue to work, love life, and serve your greater purpose here on earth.

Ok, so lets start with this premise: Sitting at work is not inherently a bad thing, as long as great posture is maintained, and some semblance of movement is possible. In the opposite sense, being sedentary in life is a bad thing, and sitting for too long at work can contribute to that. In fact, research in the International Journal of Health and Science found that 80% of study participants reported some sort of pain or injury complaint from sitting in the work place. The biggest culprit, was staying for too long in static positions, followed closely by poor ergonomics.

So lets start with some basic desk/computer ergonomics:

  • Working from the bottom up, your chair should be positioned at a distance of being an arms length away from your computer monitor, to help reduce eye strain.
  • Your knees should be about the same level as your hips, so you might need to change your chair height to make them match.
  • Regarding your hips, you want to sit upright in the chair, and not be hunched forward. Back supports should not be needed, as they only hinder movement in the long run. If you really want to use a support, its best to use one that is easily removable so that after 10-15 min you can remove it and adapt to a new pattern!
  • Your elbows and shoulders should be relaxed, with your elbows resting around90 deg.
  • Wrists should be held in the neutral position, keeping your hands at or slightly below the level of your elbows.
  • Your eyes should be able to look straight ahead at the top of your computer monitor as your sitting in an upright position. This is typically the first and easiest change many of you can make to have better ergonomics!
  • Your head should be balanced over your spine.

Ok, so now that you have your desk setup optimized for ergonomics, its important to add in these few things:

  • Blue light glasses are a must for people who stare at computer screens all daylong! These glasses help to block certain wavelengths of light that put a huge strain on our eyes! High quality pairs of these can be purchased for as low as $14.
  • If you have kept up with my newsletters, you probably guessed it, put a wobble cushion on your seat to keep you moving and adapting to new patterns all daylong.
  • It is important to take “movement breaks”. Spend 30 min on the computer, and then go for a 5 min walk. Do not get caught up in your work so much that you have been in the same position for over an hour, your health is much more important!

One thing to note is the surge in popularity of standing desks. They come in all different kinds now! You can get a desk with a motor for different heights to go from standing to sitting, you can get a stand to go on your sitting desk to make it standing, there are more and more standing work benches being installed in modern office settings. At surface level, this is great! Standing counters the immense amount of sitting around most of us do on a daily basis. However, standing in one place for too long creates its own challenges, according to research from Boston University. We will adapt to patterns that are disadvantageous if stuck standing for too long. Now, most of us change position without being aware of it. You started standing with your weight favoring your left foot, and 10 minutes later you’re standing on your right foot with your left up in the air. This is your bodies own intuitive mechanism to break a pattern! But it only works to a point. So, even when standing, ergonomically you still need to move on your feet. The easy fix….. stand on something soft! A thick microfiber or memory foam mat. An air mat or thin wobble cushion. Just like for getting movement when sitting (in the car), these things will help you to move when you’re on your feet, but just not moving