Most people have heard that sitting for extended periods is bad for your spine. In fact around 30% of office workers experience low back or neck pain every year!! So why is it that this seemingly simple activity is causing so many back problems?
Part of the reason is that sittng itself is not an activity but actually a period of inactivity. Why is this important?
The bones of your spine are seperated by spongy, water filled discs that cushion the spine. Discs require water for both nutrition and hydration, without water the discs dry out and spinal degeneration begins. The only way fo rdiscs to be filled and flushed with fresh water is to keep your spine moving!!
In fact sitting for just 3 minutes (!) with poor posture is enough for the discs to begin loosing water and strains teh muscles and ligaments in your back. Can you imagine teh damage done after an entire day of desk work!!
So we know that sitting is bad, but is there any way to make it better? YES!
Firstly that old chestnut POSTURE – imagine the discs in your spine like water filled balloons. When you stand your discs are under pressure like a water balloon sandwiched between teo books. When you sit the weight of these books is increased and so is the pressure on the balloon. When you sit and slouch, you’ve just replaced these books with oxford dictionaries and made the balloons much more liekly to burst and cause and injury.
By far the best thing you can do for your spine is MOVE. Never sit for longer than 30 minutes without getting out of your chair. A quick walk to the water cooler is enough to refresh your spine.
Take micro breaks every 15 minutes. Take a moment to assess your posture, quickly stretch your shoulders, wrists, neck and back and resume your work in a better position.
Do some activity when you get home. Walk, run, kick a ball or play with your kids. Anything that gets you moving will make all the difference!!