Improving How You Sit

The media is continuing to focus on improving sitting: NPR just published another story on the subject. Given how much back pain we Americans are living with, it’s great to see the buzz growing.

Take Control of Your Environment

image of a cashew: how do you sit?Once you realize most of the furniture we humans have designed to sit on has nothing to do with promoting good function, you can begin to customize your sitting solutions. For example:

  • Sit on a jacket
  • Carry a wedge-shaped cushion
  • Use a short stool for your feet

Forget about ever using the back of the chair: designers created the shape of the back of most chairs without reference to the human spine and pelvis. Typically, chairs (plus car and airplane seats) invite users to collapse into the cashew shape I’ve referred to before. Recipe not only for back and neck pain, but also digestive problems!

When you’re improvising your solution, remember your goal is to create clear support for your sit bones and have your feet completely in contact with the floor. Your shoulders will be slightly forward of your sit bones. This position is new to many of us, so it won’t feel “natural” at first.Photo of the front cover of CROOKED

Limit the amount of time you spend sitting, when you can. Take frequent breaks. As a designer of ergonomic furniture said in Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery, when asked what the best position for sitting is: “The next one.”

Active Sitting

In an environment you control, try varying your relationship to your computer: stand, sit on the floor, or in a QOR360 chair designed to promote active sitting (that’s the next-gen ergonomic chair I use and endorse wholeheartedly).

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