Are You Fit to Sit?
Whether in the office, on long haul flights, studying, sewing, playing musical instruments, computer games or simply searching the web, it is easy to get tense if you are sitting in the same position for a long time. Any prolonged posture can lead to aches and pains in your back, neck, shoulders and legs as well as inducing headaches. In extreme cases you may even experience tingling, burning or numbness in your limbs.
So what can we do to reduce the suffering of spending too long in the office chair??
Ten Top Fit- to-Sit Tips!
1. Sit tall, keeping the body’s natural curves supported by using a lumbar roll (rolled up towel, small cushion) in the small of your back.
2. Keep your feet flat on the floor. If you cannot adjust the height of the chair place a footrest (small stool, telephone directory, etc.) under your feet to prevent your legs from dangling.
3. Don’t have the chair too far from your desk. Armrests may prevent you from getting close enough to your keyboard or work.
4. While on the computer keep your elbows close to the waist and at right angles so your forearms are parallel to the floor. Wrists should be in a natural, straight position.
5. Don’t lean forward more than you have to. Your head weighs about 6.5 kilos (14lbs) so it is hard work for the neck muscles to hold your head up.
6. Use a document holder if you do a lot of typing. Rest your book on a pillow if reading for long periods.
7. Keep items that you use frequently in your immediate reach to avoid repeated movements. For items you don’t use very often, keep out of reach so you have to stand up to get them.
8. Avoid holding the telephone between your ear and shoulder.
9. Frequently take your eyes off your computer screen or book and gaze into the distance.
10. Don’t sit for too long – stand up and move around every 20 minutes or so and do a few exercises and stretch.
Ten Pause and Refresh Exercises
1. Take a few slow, deep breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth.
2. Stretch your arms upwards and backwards. Then, push your arms forward and relax.
3. Slowly circle your shoulders backwards, emphasizing the down and back movement.
4. Stretch your body to the side.
5. Turn your body to either side.
6. Turn your head from side to side.
7. Tilt your head from side to side.
8. Curl and straighten your fingers; bend and stretch your wrists.
9. Circle your feet and ankles and exercise your calves by pushing your feet against the floor and going on to your tip toes.
10. March or jog on the spot for a few moments to get your circulation moving.
Simple exercises can help to relieve or avoid stress on your spine and prevent damage and pain. Ease into the new routine slowly, the movements should not cause pain. However if a problem occurs make sure that you consult with a qualified professional as early as possible.
Remember, you don’t need to let aches become a pain!!