Is sitting the New Smoking?

Considerations for Sitting in a Chair and Computer use

By Nancy Romita & Allegra Romita

This article provides documentation that sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to one’s health.

Tools for developing a functional awareness for balanced sitting

Considerations when sitting at a desk or table:

1. Pause to ask yourself to release unnecessary tension and come into posture awareness

a. Balance the ischial bones (sitz bones) equally left and right.
– Leaning on one hip more can cause hip or low back pain

b. Consider the tripod of balance at your feet on the floor
– Tucking one foot underneath you can strain the knee and ankle/foot
– Sitting cross legged in a chair can cause low back distress

c. Let your left and right shoulder blade have equal contact with the back of the chair
– Sitting with one shoulder forward spirals the spine and creates uneven demand on the posture muscles while sitting

d. The distance between your upper arm and lower arm is a right angle or greater

2. Sitting and standing options

a. When sitting in a chair, the distance between your torso and thigh is also a right angle or 100 degrees.

3. You do not see the screen more clearly by pulling your face to it an inch or so. Let what you see on the screen come to you.

You do not have to sit in proper posture at all times.  This is friendly advice to remind your body to release, recruit, re-balance, and recuperate to prevent discomfort and potential health issues.

Take short breaks

  1. Get up for a brief moment to stretch or walk around your chair
  2. Drink plenty of fluids. This will ensure that you will stay hydrated, and get up to use the bathroom help you recover from sitting at the same time!
  3. Constructive rest: If you spend long periods sitting, this is a useful recuperative tool to let the spine naturally recover from the stress of deskwork. 15 minutes daily facilitates a shift in the relaxed resting length of the striated muscle fibers and more glide in the myofascial tissue.

Rest on a carpet, on your back. Rest your feet on a chair or keep your knees bent and feet on the floor (in semi-supine position). Allow yourself to relax, notice your breathing for 10 minutes.

Work standing up

  1. Use your laptop at your kitchen counter or high top table
  2. Use a standing desk


This material is copyright protected Functional Awareness® Anatomy in Action.

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