Sit Better and Sit Less

It seems every time I write a post for this e-zine I return to issues around SSS. Sitting, Sleeping and Standing. They represent the home care rules for getting the most out of your ABC™ adjustments and double as strategies for how healthy people can live better. Today I’ll focus on sitting. Or more specifically the seats (or lack thereof) that we choose to sit on.

I’m not going to go on with that ‘sitting is the new smoking’ blah that we and countless others have written plenty about. I’ll take it as assumed knowledge: we should be sitting way better and sitting way less.

Sitting better and less has been on my mind recently after a friend (another chiropractor) described another friends “chair-less house”. Yes, literally not a chair, stool or couch to be seen (again, another chiropractor, of course!).

I’ve since thought a lot about the practicalities of a chair-less house. Unsurprisingly I’ve concluded that it’s probably a bit extreme, perhaps even quite ridiculous. It did however make me ask the question: how serious am I about sitting better and less?

I’m using that chiropractor’s extreme lifestyle change as the impetus to make a stronger commitment to sitting better and less. I encourage you to join me in drawing a line in the sand and committing to these simple strategies for a better, healthier life through better and less sitting. Some may seem counter-intuitive but this article won’t go into explanations – test them out and be sure to talk to us about your experiences and questions.

Tips for sitting better: 

No cushy or soft seats.

No contours on the sitting platform.

No sitting platforms that angle downward to the back of the seat.

No low seats in which your knees are level to or higher than your hips.

No back supports that push your head or body forward.

No long sitting platforms that takes your whole thigh to reach the back of the seat.

No long periods without getting up and moving or switching to standing mode.

No using laptops unless you are truly on the go (raise them up and use an external keyboard and mouse).

 

That’s a lot of No’s. So what do we want?

A firm, slightly angled forward platform at a height that has your hips higher than your knees.

A seat that you can sit at the back of with your feet planted flat on the ground and still feel no pressure on your mid to lower thighs. The back rest should be really close to where you would sit without it so that little shape change occurs when you relax back onto it.

You know you’ve got it right when you feel effortlessly upright through your head, chest and shoulders. Then set your screen height to around eye level. Done.

Now you’ve just got to do even this good stuff way less often. Try a standing desk, a walking meeting or a standing coffee break. Get creative – your future health depends on it.

Dr Richard Martin