How To Sit When You Sit All Day...
Is sitting all day bad for you? What can you do when your job requires you to sit for long hours? In this post, you’ll learn practical tips on how to sit when you have to sit all day.
Sitting gets a bad rep...
While sitting gets a bad reputation, it’s not necessarily the act of sitting itself that poses the problem. The issue is that being in one position for a long time can place strain on our bodies. If you had a job where you had to stand in one spot all day, that would be tough on your body as well.
But…there is a reason why sitting gets it’s bad reputation. In your spine, you have a disc in between each vertebrae. The main issue with sitting is that it puts the most amount of pressure on the discs of your back when you compare it to standing or lying down. Sitting in a slouched position puts even MORE pressure on the discs of your back. This is a main contributing factor to the risk of developing lower back pain from sitting for long periods of time.
There’s also other things that can happen in the body from sitting for a long time. Certain muscles can become tight and certain muscles can become weak when you sit for an extended period of time over and over again.
Before diving into your ‘how to sit’ tips, it’s important to note that there isn’t one single perfect posture for sitting. However, some postures are more beneficial for our bodies than others. For instance, the slumped position increases pressure on the discs in your back, while sitting more upright is generally considered more ideal. That’s how these tips were developed. They were not developed to keep you in a rigid posture all day.
With that said, here are your seven tips on how to sit when you sit all day.
7 Tips On How To Sit When You Sit All Day
1. Avoid forward head posture of your neck
Sitting and working at a computer for extended periods can often lead to a forward head posture, where the head and chin jut forward. This can result in tightness in the muscles underneath the skull (called the sub-occiptials) and tightness in certain neck muscles like your upper traps and levator scapulae. When one muscle gets tight, the opposing muscles usually gets weak. In this case, this can cause weakness in muscles called the deep cervical flexors.
To avoid this, consider the following tips:
Maintain an upright neck position: Aim to keep your neck upright with your chin slightly tucked in. You can imagine a string pulling you up from the top of your head making your neck nice and long.
Position your screen at eye level: Adjust your computer monitor or laptop so that the top of the screen is at or slightly below eye level. Make sure your screen isn’t too low or too high. This will help keep your neck in good alignment.
2. Avoid rounding your shoulders
If you slump your shoulders forward and round your upper back, you’ll never be able to achieve the position of the head/neck that was discussed in tip #1.
While sitting, you want to try to avoid allowing your shoulders to round forward.
Keep your shoulders down and back. You can do this by thinking about brining your shoulder blades down and back.
You can overdo this position so remember this:
You’re not excessively squeezing your shoulder blades together, just a little motion of the shoulder blades down and back will do the trick.
Another tip that goes with this one is to keep your shoulders relaxed away from your ears. Check in with yourself throughout the day and if you notice your shoulders are shrugging up, relax them.
3. Sit with a lumbar roll.
This tip can really be game changer for the health of your lower back.
My personal favorite lumbar roll is called: The Original Mckenzie Super Roll. I know this is an investment, but I’ve had this roll for probably about 10 years and it still works perfectly fine, so this will last you.
Follow these steps for sitting with a lumbar roll:
Place your lumbar roll against your chair in the area of your lower back, specifically above your sacrum. The roll should be positioned to support the natural curve of your lumbar spine.
Ensure that you sit back into the lumbar roll, allowing it to provide added support to your lower back. Avoid placing the roll too low or too high, as it may not effectively support the lumbar curve.
Remember to sit up with the lumbar roll rather than slouching into it. If you slouch into the roll, it’s not doing anything for you.
This should not cause any increase in pain; if it does consult your doctor. You may need some physical therapy….
4. Check your arm height.
Setting your chair at the correct height is crucial for maintaining an optimal arm position while sitting.
Avoid having your arms lifted too high.
Adjust your chair height so that your arms can rest comfortably on your desk. Aim for around a 90-degree bend at the elbows, with your forearms parallel to the ground. This position helps reduce strain on the shoulders, neck, and wrists.
Evaluate your desk height and ensure it complements the adjusted chair height. Your desk should allow sufficient space for your legs and provide a comfortable surface for your arms to rest upon.
5. Feet should be on the floor.
You want to make sure that your chair is at a good level where you feet are in contact with the floor. Avoid your chair being too high and your feet floating in the air.
If your feet aren’t reaching the ground, you may need to lower your chair or use a footrest to bring the floor to you.
If you can’t lower your chair anymore, you can also scoot forward in your chair to bring your feet closer to the floor, but unfortunately then you won’t be able to use a lumbar roll.
6. Take movement breaks.
The 5 tips above are great for helping you to sit in an optimal position but remember, the body still doesn’t like to be in one position for too long no matter how optimal you make it.
The only time it tolerates this is while we sleep. But even think about that; I bet if you wake up after sleeping on your right side for 6 hours you probably naturally move to the left…
So get up and move throughout your day! I know this can be difficult but this is your body and you want to take care of it! Upon researching this, I found that you should be getting up from sitting every 20-30 minutes or so and moving around for about 2 minutes.
You gotta keep your body happy.
7. Make exercise part of your routine.
Now I know this one isn’t a direct tip relating to sitting at work, but it’s important. We all need exercise, but this is especially true for those who have desk jobs.
If you sit all day and work and then go home and sit some more, your body is not going to be happy.
Try to make exercise part of your routine. Even if it’s just going for a 30 minute walk, that’s still better than not moving your body.
For help getting into an exercise routine, click here for my FREE 5 Day Program To Reverse Effects Of Sitting.
This is a perfect place to start exercising for those who work desk jobs!
By implementing these tips and techniques on how to sit at your desk, you can improve your sitting posture and reduce the potential negative effects of prolonged sitting.
Remember to maintain an upright position, keep your shoulders down and back, adjust your chair height for optimal arm positioning, and ensure proper foot placement on the floor.
Additionally, utilizing a lumbar roll can provide valuable support to your lower back and help maintain the natural curve of your lumbar spine.
And don’t forget your movement breaks!
By being mindful of your posture and making these adjustments, you can create a more ergonomic and comfortable sitting environment, promoting your overall well-being throughout the day.