As a blogger, I sit at my computer a lot. Even if you’re not a blogger, studies indicate that most of us spend the majority of our days sitting. Because of how our bodies are designed, that’s a big problem. If we remain immobile for too long, without actively engaging our muscles, we slow our metabolisms way down. The obvious effect is that we put on weight more easily. The less obvious effect is the risk this puts us at for a wide range of related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (Mayo Clinic). If, for some reason, those problems don’t scare you consider this–sitting for extended periods can cause back pain. You may not be worried about a disease you may or may not develop a few years down the road, but pain in your back that affects everything you do might be harder to ignore.
Assuming you don’t want to quit your desk job and become a walking tour guide or construction worker, what’s a person to do?
The problem with sitting all day isn’t the act of sitting, it’s the lack of mobility. So, get up out of that chair at least once every half hour and stretch or take a short walk to deliver something to someone else’s desk. Since I tend to get sucked into my work, I actually set a timer to go off every 15 minutes to remind me to get up and move.
I don’t mean invest a ton of money in a new ergonomic chair (though that wouldn’t hurt). Instead, keep two chairs for your desk and switch between them during the day. Ideally they will be completely different chairs forcing you to employ different muscles for each. I alternate throughout the day between my desk chair and a stability ball.
Use A Rocking Chair
Rocking requires you to engage your calf muscles. If it’s impractical (or impossible) for you to get an office chair that rocks, consider using one in your family room so that you can rock when you watch television.
The best body alignment for sitting is achieved when your feet rest comfortably on the floor, your hips are level with or higher than your knees, your forearms can rest comfortably on the arm rests, and back fully supported by the chair back (with added support from a rolled towel or pillow behind the lower back if necessary).