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

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.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

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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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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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.
Mood And Posture

The more time a person spends in a bad posture, the more the body’s muscles and ligaments embrace it as normal. 

Human emotion and cognition are closely linked to body posture. And th...

Consequences Of Bad Posture
  • Slouching promotes low mood, decreased energy levels and can even impair student performance on a math test.
  • Upright posture is linked with improved mood and energy levels among people with symptoms of depression.
  • The bent-over posture associated with smartphone use could hamper breathing and impair respiratory function.
Combating Bad Posture
  • Switch up your desk setup in ways that promote proper posture.
  • Pulling exercises will strengthen them your back muscles, but upright or bent-over rows are ideal.
  • Planks, push-ups, dead lifts and other exercises that make you hold your body in a rigid position help develop posture as they activate your core and stabilizer muscles.
  • Glute bridges help to increase strength and flexibility of hips and that promotes stable movement and posture.
  • Limit “flexion” exercises that involve curling your spine into a C-shape. 
  • If you spend the bulk of your week sitting with poor posture a few hours of exercise won’t fix it. 
Simple Ways To Fix Posture
Simple Ways To Fix Posture
  • Balance-specific workouts address posture and balance problems.
  • Quick posture checks in the mirror before and during balance exercises can help you get the most from your...
Good Posture Signs
  • chin parallel to the floor
  • shoulders even (roll your shoulders up, back, and down to help achieve this)
  • neutral spine (no flexing or arching to overemphasize the curve in your lower back)
  • arms at your sides with elbows straight and even
  • abdominal muscles braced
  • hips even
  • knees even and pointing straight ahead
  • body weight distributed evenly on both feet.
Musculature Fitness And Posture
  • Muscles with reduced flexibility limit your range of motion and over time it may lead to posture issues.
  • The "core muscles" of the back, side, pelvis, and buttocks form a sturdy central link between your upper and lower body. Imbalances in one muscle affect the others.
  • Weak core muscles encourage slumping, which tips your body forward and thus off balance, while strong lower leg muscles also help keep you steady when standing.

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Your workspace matters
Your workspace matters
When you spend hours at your desk every day, even the smallest features of your workspace – such as the position of your monitor or the height of your chair– can greatly affect your productivity and e...
Lighting
  • The best kind of light you can have in your office is natural light. It helps our bodies maintain our internal "clocks" or circadian rhythms which affects our sleep and energy. 
  • Poor lighting, whether it's dim lighting or harsh lighting from overhead fluorescent lights, can cause eye strain, stress, and fatigue.
  • Don't sit with your back to a window unless you can shade it.
  • Don't sit facing a window because that will make reading a monitor difficult. 
  • If you use a task lamp at your desk, position it so the bottom of the lampshade is at about the height of your chin when it's on.
Plants
  • Indoor plants prevent fatigue during attention-demanding work. 
  • Even just having a window view of live greenery can be restorative and keep us focused.
  • A peace lily plant requires little sunlight to survive and you only have to water it when the soil is dried out and is also great for cleaning the air.
  • Cacti and aloe plants are other low-maintenance plants to consider.

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Getting Negative Feedback
Getting Negative Feedback

... is not the best thing to happen at work. It normally leads to a racing mind, emotional discomfort and increased blood pressure.

We may try to defend ourselves, or brush aside the feedba...

It’s Not Personal

Unless it is completely uncalled for, negative feedback generally has the intention of informing us about our areas of improvement. If feedback isn’t provided, you may not grow and improve. If no one tells you that you are doing something wrong, you will keep doing it wrongly forever.

Providing timely feedback may be a sign that the manager cares and wants you to improve.

Don’t Shoot The Messenger

One should not be defensive when provided with negative feedback, and understand that it is for our own good.

One needs to act on the feedback by approaching it from a neutral and objective standpoint, not taking it as a personal attack. Instead of reacting, just pause and listen. Reflect on the feedback, giving yourself some time and space to respond with a level head.

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The Worst Ways To Sleep
The Worst Ways To Sleep
  • Sleeping on the sides, which is how most people sleep, can aggravate heartburn and acidity, especially for those who sleep on their right side.

Back Sleeping

This is the best option and makes your body rejuvenate in the most natural way. Taking a slim pillow under your head helps and it’s best to keep your head at the same level as your body.

The only problem is, this position can worsen the sleep apnea.

Keep The Same Position While Sleeping

Try to sleep on your back by training yourself to not shift positions, either by keeping pillows on both sides of your body, or to place an object inside your shirt that makes it uncomfortable to go to your default position (which can happen involuntarily).

Most of our body pain and other discomforts can be removed or drastically reduced by sleeping on our back.

Unintended consequences
Unintended consequences

As we face weeks in lockdown, we seem to be sitting a whole lot more. Sitting for over six hours for days can cause a set of health problems. It can create cardio-metabolic problems and create i...

Schedule “movement breaks” 

Set a timer once an hour to remind you to move. Get up and move your body, walk up and down the stairs, or take a brisk loop around the block.

The movement needs to be reasonably active and needs to get you out of breath. Afterward, you will feel more productive.

Find an activity you love

Most people can find an activity that they enjoy. It could be walking the dog, doing pilates, or playing in the garden.

Find the activity you like and get value from and do that.

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First impressions

In less than one-tenth of a second of seeing someone for the first time, our brain processes information about the person’s face—which leads to quick conclusions about a new acquaintance’s quali...

Know your context

It’s important to first consider where you are trying to make a good impression—whether it’s a formal job interview or a dinner date. 

Context matters. It gives you cues as to how you should dress, speak, look and behave, in a way that matches the setting you are entering to. That is a key aspects of making a good impression. 

Adjust your attitude

Try not to look bored, rude or hostile.

A useful attitude is welcoming, curious and enthusiastic: smile, make eye contact long enough to notice the color of that person’s eyes, sit without crossing your arms or legs. This project a positive, open warm impression.

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