Sitting can take a substantial toll on your body. It is estimated that 86% of working Americans have a job where sitting at a desk is required. Combine that with sitting during your commute and home computer use and the average American sits for nearly 8 hours per day. Maintaining any position for 8 hours a day is not good for your body and helps us understand how sitting really is the new smoking.
Children are not immune to this problem either. Children average nearly 7 hours of screen time a day, much of which is spent sitting. Postural problems are very common among children.
When I see someone in physical therapy I nearly always spend some time working on their posture. This does not have to be complicated, and there are some simple steps you can take to improving your posture and feeling better today.
1.) Adjust your work station and car set up.
- As you sit, your ear, shoulder, and hip should be in line.
- You should look for 90 degree bend at our elbows, hips, and knees.
- Feet should be flat on the floor.
- In the car, adjust your seat so you can comfortably reach the steering wheel.
- When you first get in your car, sit upright and adjust your rearview mirror so you can just see out of it. This will help you catch yourself as you begin to slouch while you drive.
2.) Take breaks.
No one can sit for 8 hours and feel good. Get up and take breaks. A couple of simple stretches you can do in the office, in between classes at school, or during commercial breaks at home:
3.) Get off your phone.
It is now estimated that we spend 1/3 of our day on our phones. The forward head posture associated with cell phone use can increase the stress on the neck and head by as much as 60 lbs. This leads to problems ranging from migraine headaches, neck pain, shoulder impingement, rotator cuff problems, back pain and many other postural related ailments. Limit your cell phone use and you will feel better.
These are just a few simple steps you can take help reduce the toll sitting and technology take on our bodies. Make these simple changes, and start feeling better today!