“Sitting is the New Smoking?” Why and How?
Prolonged seating can cause weakness, numbness and pain on the back. When we sit, we usually will not be aware of the level of compression and degeneration that our spine is encountering.
The traditional concept of 90-degree sitting the vertebrae and disks are incorrectly loaded. They are pressed together in the front, and the back muscles and ligaments are constantly stretched. ( as shown on the left hand side of the top figure) Resulting in poor circulation, weak muscles, and an increased risk of back aches. When we sit in a 90-degree angle, we usually need to take more effort to support on upper body and spine and as a result that will also cause uneven pressure to the pelvis and the lower back discs.
The way to protect your spine while sitting should not be a 90 degree angle:
Your hips should be higher than the knees with your feet planted on the floor, which is a position that can maintain a the proper level of curvature in your lumbar, and lower back; thus, helping to reduce compression.
When our discs are evenly loaded, and the small movements you make when, e.g., turning or reaching for things activate and thus strengthen your back and core muscles – all the while sitting in a good, upright posture. Circulation remains undisturbed the whole day.
For your information on the disc pressure chart:
Are you AWARE how many hours you sitting everyday?
10 hours at least. We commute to work sitting, breakfast, work, lunch, work again, and dinner, not to mention the TV time at home.
A credible research suggest that if we able to stand accumulatively 3 hours per day, in one year time, the calories burnt is equivalent to completing 10 marathons. Standing 1 hour burns 50 calories, in one week you probably have get rid of 750 calories.
The health benefits include better circulations, better focus and longevity. The best sitting posture is the “perch” position which your knee angle is approximately range of 100-130 degree instead of the traditional saying of 90degrees, a posture where the lumbar curve usually ends up in fatigue and slouching.
The best to optimize health benefits at work is by alternating between 30 mins of standing and sitting, especially after lunch and before you get off from work. This practice helps better digestions and also creates more energy and motivation to get the last bit of the day towards the finishing line so that we feel a sense of achievement to call it a day.