Movement Without Pain – Sitting

So for my blog this week, I’m continuing in the Movement Without Pain series and I want to talk about sitting.  I know you may be thinking, “OMG, not another gloom and doom article about sitting”.  Well it is another article about sitting BUT in this post I have some simple solutions that should help and they don’t require spending a ton of money so hang in there with me.

It’s true our bodies were not meant to sit;  we are designed to move, but at certain points we ALL have to sit.  Whether it’s sitting at work,  sitting in a car or plane, or sitting in bleachers — we all do it.  And sometimes you just can’t avoid it.  So the problem becomes HOW we are sitting.  Most of you reading this just sat up straight thinking I might be able to see you — haha!  Think about it, how do you sit?  It’s a good question isn’t it? And most of us probably don’t pay much attention to the way we sit because it’s something we have been doing for as long as we can remember and doesn’t require much thought.  Actually it does, but it doesn’t require as much thought as it requires more awareness.  So I’m going to challenge you to start paying attention to how you sit.  Do you have two feet flat on the floor or do you cross your legs? Do you have a lengthened spine or does your spine and pelvis look more like the letter “C”?

I think most of us sit for long periods of time with poor posture and wonder why our bodies are protesting.  If  you are sitting with your spine in the shape of a letter “C” sooner or later that position will  become uncomfortable.   The reason for that is because it is  “unsupported load” (here comes the technical stuff but don’t worry I’ll be brief).  We all weigh something our bodies contain bones, organs and ligaments/tendons and  all of that has weight to it and our muscles are responsible for holding all of that up against gravity. So the “load” of us most be supported by our muscles.  If there is “unsupported load” the muscles that should be supporting you are not.  In other words, if you are sitting in a chair with poor posture you are relying on the chair to hold you up.  And in a way it is; it is holding you up off the floor, but it is not holding the whole of you up.  So when you sit like that none of the muscles that are supposed to support you (think neck, back and abdominal muscles) are active.  Not to mention  what it does to your breathing (but that’s an  article for another day).

Ok so now you know how NOT to sit, but how are we supposed to sit?  I thought you’d never ask!  When you sit, the first thing you want to do is make sure your butt is all the way to the back of the chair (where the seat and the back meet).  Then you want to make sure your spine is long (think head, shoulders, ribs and pelvis as being stacked on top of one another), and keep your feet flat on the ground.  If you are short, you can put a little stool or something under your feet so you have support and your feet are not just dangling.  And lastly, and this part is really important, make sure you are sitting on your “sitz” bones!  And if you aren’t sure what “sitz” bones are, they are the bony things you probably feel when sitting on a hard surface. So make sure you are sitting up on them and not rolled back toward your sacrum (your sacrum is just above your tailbone).

Now you may be thinking ok I’m sitting up straight but I can’t see my computer screen.  If you have to slouch to see your computer screen your screen should be raised.  Most monitors can be adjusted and if it is a laptop you can get a stand to put it on or simply put some books underneath it.

Sitting correctly can make all the difference in the world to how your body feels. And if you do have a job where you must sit at a desk take breaks and get up and move around.  Take a walk at lunch just try to move whenever you can.