Is Sitting The New Smoking? Contrary to popular belief, sitting for our backs may not be as bad as we’ve been lead to believe. It’s not sitting that is the problem as such, but poor posture while sitting. If sitting with good posture feels difficult for you and requires great effort to remain upright, then you can be almost certain that the position of your pelvis is incorrect.
Good posture should not take great effort but should be rather relaxed but this does take some getting used to. Start by learning the correct position for the bones of your pelvis and spine. With the right bony position, your muscles can relax while sitting. Bad sitting posture alters the natural spinal curves and puts unnecessary stress and strain on the discs and joints of your entire back and this can lead to early wear and tear.
The correct pelvic position is one with a tilt forward – this is very different to a swayed back position which comes from the angle of your lumbar vertebra not the pelvis. The correct pelvic position is one that allows your bottom to become more prominent as if you were showing off a long bushy tail. But do be warned that if you have had any diagnosis or trouble with the discs in your lumbar area, it is important to discuss your progress with your doctor and to build up to using these new positions over time.
If you have slumped and tucked your pelvis inward for years, you will likely have very short and tight groin and hamstring muscles and the muscles in your bottom will be weak.
Use A Wedge
Using a wedge will initially help to artificially tip your pelvis forward. You may find you immediately notice a difference in your ability to remain seated and comfortable during your work day. You can buy wedge cushions on-line or take a folded towel to prop you up ever so slightly under your sit bones, so that your hips are just above the height of your knees.
When your pelvic bones are in the right position your back muscles relax and your breathing improves as the chest lengthens. With a relaxed chest, the size of your rib cage increases, ultimately expanding your vital lung capacity. More oxygen in, means more muscle relaxation, better circulation and less brain fog.
For women, a tucked pelvis could spell trouble, as the only structure supporting the pelvic organs when you are tilted backward, are the rather inadequate pelvic floor muscles (Kegels). This could be a possible contributor to prolapse and incontinence. With a good forward tilt, the pelvic organs have the sturdy pubic bone as support and this is a much better situation.
Our parents got it wrong! Active sitting is all about wiggling, stirring and fidgeting in our seats. Sitting incorrectly is fast becoming the new smoking. We sit for hours at work, then we sit to commute, to eat dinner and to watch TV. Every joint in the body has to be moved regularly – this movement lubricates the joints.
Once you have learned and adapted to sitting with a forward tilting pelvis, your sitting should then also be active. When sitting, roll your ankles, tuck your chin (as you lengthen your spine) and turn your head side to side and give your eyes a rest from the computer screen at the same time. Learn to exercise sitting down!
You can buy a Swiss Ball on-line and they make for great active sitting. Use it as your home office chair but be warned, this makes your core really work hard and if you have any back issues it will take time to build up your sitting intervals on it. Start with ten minutes each session and alternate with a real chair.
The wobble cushion also promotes active sitting while encouraging good posture and improving core strength. The idea is that when sitting on it, you wobble and this creates some instability throughout the body which transmits waves of energy that cause muscles to contract to stabilize your body.
Good posture is the key to maintaining a youthful body and regaining good posture should be the goal of anyone who wants to look and feel strong, fit and healthy. Start with good pelvic posture and practise every day and before you know it you’ll be oozing posture confidence, standing taller and looking a good deal younger. Now that is something to celebrate!
By Paula Moore