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You’re sitting wrong — and your back knows it. Here’s how to sit instead

A healthier back

For a healthier back, develop the "inner corset" core strength: the group of core muscles that support your spine. Crunches are not the best exercises for this purpose as they also crunch your discs and nerves.

You should engage particular muscles deep in the abdomen and back; then your muscles can take care of your back.

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You’re sitting wrong — and your back knows it. Here’s how to sit instead

You’re sitting wrong — and your back knows it. Here’s how to sit instead

https://ideas.ted.com/youre-sitting-wrong-and-your-back-knows-it-heres-how-to-sit-instead/

ideas.ted.com

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Key Ideas

How we're sitting

The childhood advice of sitting up straight, shoulders back, is incorrect.

Sitting this way takes effort. We end up arching our backs by tensing up our muscles. When we tighten them, we shorten them, and that arches the back, loads the discs in the lower back, and pushes the edges of the vertebrae against each other. Over time, that could alter our anatomy.

The tendency to slump

If you tend to slump, you need to learn to lengthen your back. Use the time that you're sitting to stretch yourself against the backrest.

  • Sit with your bottom well back in your chair while moving your upper body away from the backrest.
  • Place your fists on the front lower border of your rib cage, then gently push back on your rib cage so as to elongate your lower back.
  • Then, grab some place of your chair and make yourself taller by gently pushing the top of you away from the bottom.
  • In that position, put your back against the chair's backrest. Ideally, the chair would have some grippy thing mid-back to hold you.

A healthier back

For a healthier back, develop the "inner corset" core strength: the group of core muscles that support your spine. Crunches are not the best exercises for this purpose as they also crunch your discs and nerves.

You should engage particular muscles deep in the abdomen and back; then your muscles can take care of your back.

Standing desks

Standing desks can be good, but it depends on how you hold your body. When the average person stands, they lock their knees back, the hips forward and arch their back.

When you stand, adopt a stance of "readiness," maintaining a little bit of spring in your knees. It takes muscular effort but will spare your joints.

Sleep affects your back

It is important not to lie down on your front when you sleep as this position tends to arch your back, and your neck turns 90 degrees.

Instead, try sleeping on your back or side. If you suffer from pack pain, sleep with a pillow between your knees to balance your hips.

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Aches and pains

Aches and pains

With the 2020 pandemic, many people are required to stay home.

If you're one of these people, you may be noticing new aches and pains you did not experience at the office.

Ergonomic furniture

Many companies follow an ANSI-HFS standard in the design of their computer workstations, which incorporates ergonomic furniture and accessories.

Most homes don't have the space to accommodate ergonomic office furniture, nor do most people invest in it. If you're working from home using your computer on a regular table or you sit in a lounge chair or on your bed, chances are you aren't in a healthy posture. It could potentially lead to musculoskeletal injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, or even deep vein thrombosis.

Your computer screen

View your computer screen with a straight neck. Put your screen in front of you at a comfortable viewing height. Don't look down at your screen or angle your screen, so you must twist your neck.

You may have to put the screen on a pile of books or on a cardboard box to raise it to a comfortable viewing position.

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The pleasure of walking

The pleasure of walking

It was easy to dismiss walking as a form of physical activity until recently. But lockdown has reminded us of the pleasures of walking. Both its physical and mental benefits are being appreciated o...

Aspects we get wrong about walking

  1. Instead of propelling ourselves forward by pushing off with the back foot, we attempt to use our stepping foot to get us going. Sitting down too much shortens and tightens the hip flexor muscles, causing us to take the wrong step.
  2. The passive foot strike. The movement provided by the joints in our feet offers suspension and balance. Plodding along flatly causes knee discomfort. It can create a slight misalignment of the back, and stiffness of the shoulders.
  3. Letting your head hang forwards. Screens, reading, and desk work have made this the default position. With the head slightly forward, the muscles in the upper back and shoulders have to contract to hold it there. Back mobility becomes restricted, and you will be unable to rotate your spine from the hips.
  4. Arms hanging awkwardly or forced into a tense power-walk movement. If you get steps one to three right, the arms will naturally dangle freely.

Walking benefits

  • When people walk together, they unconsciously fall into step. Their neural activity synchronizes too. The more in sync we are, the deeper our social connection.
  • Walking aids creativity. A study revealed that when participants who brainstormed while walking, thought of more valid ideas than those who tried the same while sitting.
  • Half an hour of walking per day helps treat depression.
  • To reinforce the positive effects, notice how you're feeling. Notice what you are seeing, smelling, and tasting.
  • Be aware of rumination if you're struggling with something such as grief, a job loss, or uncertainty. Avoid unhelpful responses such as "why me?" or "why this?" Instead, ask, "what now?" to help you find a way forward.

Get the Wii Fit

... to play games that require balancing and movement. 

Playing any games while standing up is also an alternative, as sitting all day is bad for us.

Test Your Posture

Test your back and neck posture against a wall or check proper posture illustrations to find any areas you need to work on when standing. 

Be more aware of your feet when you’re standing and adjust your weight so it’s distributed evenly across both feet.

Core Strengthening Exercises

Do pilates and other core strengthening exercises to help you stand taller and maintain a proper posture. 

Yoga also does that and emphasizes body awareness and balance.

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