“Sitting’s the new smoking”

If only we had a dollar every time we heard this. Sitting has increased substantially. Sitting has increased so much that it’s difficult to reverse the effects of long term sitting. Recent studies have shown that American adults sit on average 12 hours per day. There is just no way to avoid that fact that this is detrimental & damaging to our health. It’s hard enough to stay on top of our health without a simple thing like our work position impacting our overall health too. So what can we do to minimise the effects of long term sitting? If sitting is the new smoking, how can we make it as “nicotine free” as possible?

We have four sitting options & alternatives that we believe can help. One of which provides a little break from the endless hours in the chair, the others are focused on still keeping you sitting, but making it as ergonomically friendly on you, your body and then also your productivity. Our four options include: Supportive Gaming Chair/Office Chair, Stool, Swiss Ball and a Standing Desk.

Option 1 – Supportive Gaming Chair/Office Chair

Research says that with 8 hours of sitting per day total (including car, couch and work) it’s almost impossible for exercise alone to undo sittings negative effects. Although it’s most common to think of the physical detrimental effects of sitting but it goes way beyond that. According to a Science Daily article: Sitting too much is linked to changes in a section of the brain that is critical for memory, according to a preliminary study by UCLA researchers of middle-aged and older adults.   This is why, physical performance therapists such as Dr Kelly Starrett truly believe that if we truly want our kids to learn & adults to be productive, we truly need to rethink traditional sitting options. His book, Deskbound is jammed packed full of resources if you truly want to dive in deep.

For us however, we want to help you explore some sitting options and alternatives. Are there some potentially simple modifications of what you’ve got and what you might be able to repurpose?

Gaming chairs like the Thunder X3 is a great place to start.

A massive benefit of the gaming chair is that the chair itself is jam packed with micro adjusters throughout. These micro adjusters help to dial the chair in to your exact posture. Even better, the micro adjuster supports promote you to use your back muscles. Switching back muscles on while sitting is going to take some adjusting. However, once these muscles switch on and we develop the tolerance of the muscles, we will be in a much better position throughout the day and be closer to an ideal posture. The better this muscular support, the more we reduce the extra stress and degeneration that can kick in with as little as 30 minutes of sitting especially when in a poor position. So a gaming chair might just help us sit right for longer.

Option 2 – Stool

It might sound cruel, but it works! Stools may not be in the forefront of the mind as a long term sitting option, but there are several benefits to stools.

The first benefit of using a stool, a pretty obvious one, it automatically eliminates the back rest. By doing so, this gives an extra prompt to switch on the back muscles. Stools also promote movement. In using our muscles to sit upright, we are protecting our back, spine and nervous system. Lastly, stools can make it easier to get out of the chair letting us move around. We can also combine it with a Pomodoro Technique (25-30 mins sitting, then 2-3 mins break to stand, stretch and move) and be a step ahead. If you’re prone to slouching, give a stool a try and see if you find benefit.

Option 3 – Swiss Ball

This is a dynamic sitting alternative. Like the stool option, a Swiss ball eliminates the back rest giving us that quick & all too subtle prompt to sit upright. Some of the biggest recommendations when it comes to using a swiss ball for sitting would be to purchase a ball one size larger than what you would use at the gym and keep it fully inflated.

Why? Using a large, fully inflated ball promotes sitting on the front half of the ball. This allows the knees to be lower than hips. This is really important to consider when sitting because it allows your pelvis and hips to rock forward which opens up the lower part of the spine. These can also provide a lot more movement and play while in a seated position in comparison to a chair or stool.

Although there’s many benefits with a Swiss Ball, don’t let it fool you. We can still ‘cheat.’ We can rest our legs on a desk or slide the ball too far forward allowing slouching to resume. Try to avoid this while sitting on a ball. Instead, continue to move, keep the ball fully inflated and if the opportunity for a micro office stretch break presents itself, even better.

Option 4- Standing Desk

This is by far our favourite option (and Dr Kelly Starrett’s too). Having the opportunity of a standing desk immediately decreases sitting. However there are some things to consider- try to make it a sit/stand option, is there an option of an interval approach to sitting/standing or adding in a small foot stool?

The benefit of making your desk a sit to stand option is you won’t be stuck standing for too long. When we’re stuck standing too long, it can be just as fatiguing. It’s easy to slouch, sway or lean to one side when standing too long causing similar issues from over sitting. The second thing to consider is having a combination approach meaning choosing when you’re sitting and standing. For example, you may want to stand with simple data entry and emails, but you may choose to sit with more complicated tasks. You can also choose different times of the day to sit/stand.

Lastly, having a small foot stool is a great add on. Using a foot stool to kick one foot up at a time can help keep the hips in a better balanced position for a longer duration of time. Make sure to switch your feet to ensure your body is in the best position possible while using the foot stool.

So there’s our four sittings options. We can appreciate this is very specific to the person, their career and the effectiveness of the chair. So, choose what works for you and if you don’t know where to start, consider one of the options above. If you need any help, give us a call at Transitions Chiropractic on 49261101. If you feel stuck, uncomfortable or need any help in either improving your comfort or productivity through your day- consider two things: your chair & can chiropractic help you?? We love to help you get the most out of you.