Stand up. No really, I want you to stand.
Now that you’re on your feet: Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders down and back, and exhale slowly. Now lift your feet, alternating side to side and then come to a halt. Next, stand up nice and tall and open your chest. Finally, reach really tall towards the ceiling and then release your arms.
Notice the immediate change in your posture, as well as your stress level. Now you can take a seat.
Would you be shocked to hear that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your health — and your back? For many Americans, an office job comes hand-in-hand with a desk, chair, and eight hours of sitting. Both stress and poor posture can lead to aches, pains, and injuries when compiled with long workdays, constant meetings, and heavy commuting.
Sedentary habits can lead to countless health-related conditions, including back pain. So how do you attempt to dodge the bullet that affects 8 of 10 people at some point in their lifetimes? Get up off your seat, improve your posture, properly set up your workstation, and manage your stress!
Here are a few quick tips to keep your back in check while sitting for long periods of time:
- Move, move, move! Take a stand and move every 20 minutes throughout the day while at work or home. This will promote better blood flow, ease tension, and reduce joint stiffness.
- Practice good posture throughout the day. When standing, aim to keep your weight balanced evenly between your feet. Check your alignment and don’t slouch. To support good posture while sitting, choose a chair that allows both feet to rest flat on the floor and also allows you to keep your knees level with your hips.
- Examine your workstation. If you work at a computer, make sure to align your keyboard, monitor, and mouse properly to avoid overreaching and unnecessary strain. If you have a job where you use the phone, ask for a headset to avoid bending and reaching over your desk. Even better, try a stand-up desk if possible!
- Manage your stress. Stress can lead to stiffness in the upper neck and back. Muscle tension in that area can lead to poor posture and eventually back pain. When you start feeling stressed, try taking a few deep breaths. This will naturally allow for the pressure to release and a chance to adjust your posture.
Sitting is the kiss of death! Throughout the day, use reminders or visual cues to help you remember to take a moment and prevent back pain. Your body will thank you for years to come! If you’re interested in getting one-on-one support from a health coach, as well as your PCP, ask your doctor about a prescription for wellness, or call 1-855-395-8762 to speak directly to a health coach to get started.