Stop damage from sitting

Stop Damaging Your Back Sitting Down: 4 Sitting Positions That Save Your Back

behavior change health healthy habits movement posture Jan 27, 2024

In the modern world, desk jobs are destroying more bodies than heavy physical labor.

Like most people, you probably spend over 8 hours a day at a desk. Maybe you've already experienced headaches, neck and shoulder pain, or lower back discomfort.

Prolonged sitting can be incredibly damaging to your body. Staying in the same position for hours leads to postural issues and various physical problems.

The root of the problem is inactivity and static posture, which over time shortens certain muscles and weakens others, causing stiffness, poor posture, and pain.

Correcting these issues can require extensive therapy and exercise. But what if you could prevent them in the first place?

Here’s the good news: It's entirely preventable.

How? By changing your posture every 15 minutes.

In this newsletter issue, I'll introduce you to 4 powerful sitting postures. These postures activate your inactive muscles and lengthen those prone to shortening.

Read on to discover how to maintain a healthy body, even with a desk job.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

In my line of work, I often hear people complain about physical issues. The top three complaints in my prospect conversations are excessive bodyweight, tiredness, and pain.

9 out of 10 have postural issues from prolonged sitting and inactivity. Reversing this damage can take months or even years of consistent training.

While I advocate for physical exercise to build strength, avoiding the damage from prolonged sitting is simpler than you think.

You can't always change the fact that you have to sit, but you can change how you sit.

The ideal would be switching to an active job, but the next best thing? Changing how you sit. This simple change can save you discomfort, time, and money.

Read on for my top 4 sitting postures that have transformed my office work.

The Best Posture is Your Next Posture

Even as a personal trainer, where I spend 40 hours a week training clients, I still find myself sitting for several hours each day.

But I don’t let it damage my body. Why?

First, because I'm active most of the day and engage in daily physical training.

Second, I make it a point to change my posture every 10-30 minutes.

I alternate between passive and active postures, constantly varying muscle length and activity.

So, without further ado, let's dive into these postures.

Posture #1: Judo Sit

During my 10+ years as a judoka in my childhood, every training session began and ended with the 'Judo Sit'. You sit down on your knees, resting your butt on your heels.

I always thought this position was easy for everyone, but I've since learned many people struggle with it. The challenge often lies in the quadriceps length, which is compromised in many due to excessive sitting.

Incorporating the Judo Sit into your daily routine can be immensely beneficial. It not only increases the flexibility of your leg muscles but also reduces strain on your lower back. Additionally, maintaining an upright position in this posture engages and strengthens your core muscles.

If it feels challenging at first, start with just a minute at a time. As you become more accustomed, you can gradually increase the duration.

Posture #2: Resting Squat

The squat isn't just for building strong legs; it used to be a resting position in ancient times. People used to squat to relax – a concept hard to imagine today. However, integrating the resting squat into your office routine can be surprisingly comfortable.

Try this squat on your bureau chair. It’s way easier than free-standing. You'll engage your glutes, legs, and spine actively to maintain this posture.

It’s an excellent active sitting position that activates many muscles typically shut down while sitting.

If you find it challenging initially, start with short periods, just like with the Judo Sit. Don’t be discouraged; with practice, it becomes easier and more comfortable.

Persisting with this posture will bring significant benefits to your spine health in the long run.

Posture #3: Seated Lunge

The Seated Lunge might feel a bit odd initially. Rotate your chair by 90 degrees. Sit on one leg with the other relaxed on the floor, resembling a lunge position but seated and without leg tension.

This posture relaxes the hip flexor and oblique muscles on one side while engaging the core on the other.

Short, painful hip flexors are a common issue for desk workers. My girlfriend, for instance, struggled with this, hindering her ability to perform squats and other leg exercises. Once she consistently practiced this seated lunge, her pain went away.

It also stretches the quadratus lumborum, a lower back muscle that often becomes short and stiff, leading to pain.

This posture is quite manageable. Start with 5-minute intervals, alternating between left and right.

Pro tip: Rest your knee on the floor, ensuring it's just below or slightly behind the hip joint for maximum benefit. The stretch is less effective if the knee is in front of the hip.

Posture #4: Laid Back

Not every position needs to be active. Switching to a passive, more relaxed posture occasionally is also beneficial. It provides a perfect mix of being active and passive, giving your muscles a chance to work and then relax —you need both sides of the spectrum.

Final Thoughts

Remember, it's not one specific position that harms your body; it's the lack of variety and the repetitive nature of our postures that causes damage over time.

The best posture is your next posture. Aim to switch between active and passive variations.

Here’s a simple routine:

  • Judo Sit
  • Squat
  • Laid Back
  • Seated Lunge
  • Repeat 🔁

Start with 1-5 minutes for each active posture and 10-15 minutes for each passive posture. These are just guidelines, so feel free to adjust as needed.

In an ideal world, you'd keep switching positions, but sometimes tasks may require a fixed posture. Remember, any movement between prolonged sitting sessions is beneficial.

Give these postures a try and let me know how they work for you. Connect with me on 𝕏 or LinkedIn and send me a DM with your thoughts.

Until next time, stay strong, committed, and enjoy these 4 powerful sitting positions.

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