Health Tips for People Who Sit All Day
Our bodies were designed to move. Studies show that people who spend their days at sedentary jobs have more health problems than their active counterparts. No wonder. Blood pools in the legs and spinal pressure builds after just 20 minutes hunched over in a chair. Sitting is also linked to weight gain and early death.
What’s the problem? When we sit too long in a stationary position, our body tightens and lock ups. Our hamstrings get shorter and our hip flexors tighter. If we do this for hours every day, our tight muscles can change the way we walk, run, sit or lie down.
When we stand, our weight is distributed. When we sit, we aren’t using the natural curves of the spine to hold ourselves up against gravity. Maintaining good posture while sitting – instead of slouching – can help. Chiropractor Dr. Cynthia Boyd of Symmetry Health Centers offers some tips to minimize the damage too much sitting can cause.
When you’re in your chair:
- Sit up straight.
- Sit all the way back in your chair.
- Keep the chair tucked in close to desk.
- Make sure you have lumbar (lower back) support. You can insert a pillow between the small of your back and the chair.
- Knees should be at 90 degrees.
- Keep feet flat on the floor.
- Elbows should be at your sides.
- Relax your shoulders – holding your shoulders upright for a long time strains them.
- Make sure your keyboard is directly in front of you, at shoulder height.
- Use a document stand to avoid straining your neck when typing.
- Avoid leaning forward to read your monitor. Either move the monitor closer or increase the font size of your documents
Reset your position.
One easy thing you can do is to turn your palms upward. Try it: you’ll automatically roll your shoulders back, lift your neck and straighten up from a slouch. Do this at regular intervals, such as whenever you take a call.
Do some simple stretches every hour.
- Straighten your arms in front of you, move them up over your head, then stretch them to the side.
- Keep your arms up and bend over. Lift your toes while keeping your heels on the ground to stretch your calves and hamstrings.
- Exercise your wrists by moving to the edge of your chair, straightening your arms, flexing your hands and stretching out your wrists.
- Keep your arms out in front of you and rotate your trunk to activate your shoulders and chest.
- Calf raises: lift your heels while keeping your toes on the floor.
- Chin tucks: these will stretch out the neck.
- Add some shoulder shrugs.
- To work your legs, just get up and sit back down a few times.
- Incorporate some standing into your day. Stand up while taking phone calls, for example.
If you live in Oakland, Alameda or the East Bay and are experiencing aches and pains as a result of sitting too much, consider a visit to Dr. Cynthia Boyd and her team at Symmetry Health Center. Dr. Boyd and her team are experts in Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP), a method of correcting spinal misalignments – vertebrae that have shifted out of position – by remodeling and realigning the spine to restore normal nerve flow.
The team at Symmetry Health Center is among only a handful of Oakland, Alameda and East Bay chiropractors trained in CBP, the most research- and results-oriented corrective chiropractic technique.
Take advantage of our no-charge consultation to determine whether you or a loved one is a candidate for care at Symmetry Health Center. Call 510-769-0125 for our location in Alameda and 510-654-2207 to reach our Oakland/Berkeley office.