Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time sitting. According to Statistics Canada, adults spend approximately 9.5 hours (or 69% of all waking hours) sitting each day. Whether you are in a meeting, at your desk, or commuting to work, you’re most likely doing these activities sitting.
While leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of health complications and disease, sitting too much can also lead to musculoskeletal pain and injuries. So what can you do to combat all of this sitting and reduce your risk of developing posture-related pain? Here are my top 3 tips for those of you who spend most of your day sitting:
Move & Stretch.
Of the 3 tips, this one is probably the most important. Our bodies are meant to move, and if we are stuck all day sitting, chances are we’re not getting up and moving around as much as we should. Whether you’re coming to physiotherapy for pain related to sitting or not, I always recommend to my patients that they get up and move regularly, ideally every hour. While that might seem like a lot, it doesn’t have to be. Moving regularly can be as simple as going to the bathroom, filling up your water bottle, or doing some stretches at your desk. Your physio is a great person to ask for some stretches to do while at work.
Along the same lines as the previous tip, while you are sitting, change positions periodically. You may have seen pictures of the “ideal sitting posture”; while this is a good start, no posture is ideal if that’s the only position you’re sitting in all day. So if you like to sit cross legged, slouched, leaning a bit to one side, do so, but just make sure you’re changing it up throughout the day.
Part of the reason you may be sitting a certain way, or adopting certain postures, is based on how your workspace is set up. Here are some modifications you can make to your work area:
- Monitor Placement: Keep the monitor at arm’s length away with the top of the screen at eye level.
- Use a Document Holder: Put any papers being used in a document holder beside the monitor. Tilt the papers up towards you so that you can glance at the papers instead of having to repeatedly bend or turn your head.
- Desk Layout: Keep frequently used objects within forearm’s reach and occasionally used objects within arm’s reach.
If you’re already starting to experience the effects of too much sitting, a physical therapist can help you with your current issue, as well as discussing ways to prevent injuries from occurring or recurring in the future. Contact the clinic to learn more, or book an appointment.