Remember when your mother used to say things like, “Eat all your vegetables.” And, “Look both ways before crossing the street.” “A person is known by the company they keep.” And let’s not forget her mantra, “Sit up straight! Don’t slouch!”
She was offering excellent advice.
So many of us today work in sedentary jobs that require that we sit for most of the workday. However, whether at a desk, or at a football game, or in front of a television set, good posture is imperative for optimum spinal health.
Consider the way you’re sitting right this moment:
- Are your feet flat on the floor, with your knees at a 90 angle?
- Are your buttocks, back and shoulders up against the backrest of your chair?
- Does the chair you’re sitting in provide enough lumbar support? Does the backrest fit into the natural curve of your spine? Are all your spinal curves properly supported?
- Are your shoulders relaxed and even, not hunched in a forward position?
- Is your body weight equally distributed across both hips?
- Are your knees level with or slightly higher than your hips?
If you answered “No” to any of these, you’re probably exerting undue stress on your spine.
Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to sit in the same position for more than 40 minutes. Chronic slouching affects the discs between the vertebrae and may cause bulging or herniation.
Remember to periodically take the time to stand up and stretch your back and legs or take a short walk.
The chair you use should provide lumbar support that allows the backrest to fit into the curve in your lower back. This helps avoid pressure on the spine and prevents back muscles from becoming fatigued. If your chair doesn’t have it, you can use a rolled towel or invest in a lumbar support pillow to provide you with the proper amount of spinal support. If you sit for long periods, it is certainly worth the investment.