That’s right, I said it. Sitting can kill you! Research shows that prolonged sitting—just like sedentary living—can lead to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, as well as other issues like headaches and upper and lower back pain.
When you sit for a long period of time your hip flexors stay tight; so, when you stand up, it pulls on your pelvis. It also tightens your hamstrings, which pull on your pelvis. The old saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” also holds true with your lower back muscles and glutes. If you don’t use them, they atrophy over time—which can also lead to lower back pain.
When sitting, you want to avoid sitting Indian style. The lower spine should curve inward toward the body, but when you sit this way, it curves the opposite way. You also want to avoid sitting on your wallet, especially if you’ve got a big one. It tends to tilt up the pelvis, which can cause imbalance and misalignment in your lower back.
Additionally, both men and women should avoid sitting with crossed legs, which also causes pelvic misalignment and imbalance. You also want to remember not to sit for too long. Sitting for longer than 40 minutes will cause your spine to go into active degeneration, so make sure you get up and move after sitting that long.
So what is the best way to sit?
When sitting on a couch, try not to lean back because you tend to lean your head forward in this position. As your head leans forward, it adds a lot of strain and tension to your neck; this puts further stress on your cervical spine. You want your head as over your shoulders as possible. Put a pillow behind your back as far up as possible to help your sit up straight.
If you have an office chair that leans back, you have the same issue. If your chair locks in the upright position, it will help keep your head over your shoulders. You can also add lumbar support by simply rolling up a towel and placing it where your upper back meets your lower back, about an inch up directly behind your belly button.
If you have any other questions for us about hacking your health, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email soon. We’d love to hear from you!