Commuting to your job, working in an office, eating in a restaurant, relaxing in front of the TV—what do all these activities have in common? They all require us to sit. With modern humans spending so much time seated, we seem to be taking the “erect” out of Homo erectus and are now moving on to our next evolutionary step, Homo chairus. But do we really want to become chair-shaped people?
Sitting for long periods of time, especially with bad posture, can put us at risk of developing back pain. It can also increase stiffness and may exacerbate conditions like arthritis. Thankfully, there are things we can do to reduce the negative impact sitting can have on our bodies.
Here are some tips to help straighten up:
Sitting in the same position for a long time can build up stress and cause discomfort. It’s important to keep moving by taking regular breaks to stretch and walk. Making small changes in your daily routine, such as standing on public transit instead of sitting, can make a big difference.
Practise your posture.
Sitting with plenty of support without slouching and changing position often helps to minimize the strain on your back.
Manage your pain.
When back pain does occur, don’t ignore it. Visit your doctor for an assessment, and if recommended, ease pain early with safe over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen.
Use the right tools.
Try getting an ergonomic chair designed to support your back. You can also purchase a lower-back support or roll up a small towel to use when you’ll be sitting for long periods.
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