Daily Bulletin


News

  • Written by Leon Straker, Professor of Physiotherapy, Curtin University

Many people spend the majority of their waking hours sitting – at home, commuting and at work.

Particularly when we’re sitting for long periods at a desk, there are a few things we should keep in mind.

Read more: Health Check: sitting versus standing

How should we sit?

Many people think there is one “good” posture. But actually, there isn’t just one way of sitting. Different ways of sitting will place different physical stresses on our bodies, and variety is good.

To work out if a posture is “good” or not, we can assess it based on several things:

  • the amount of muscle activity required to hold the position (too much muscle activity could be a problem as it can result in fatigue if held continuously for a long period)

  • the estimated stress on joints, including the discs between the vertebral bones of the spine (too much physical loading stress could be a problem as it may cause pain in the joints and ligaments or muscles around them)

  • whether the joints are in the middle of their range of movement or near the extreme (awkward, near end-of-range postures may put more stress on tissues around joints)

  • the amount of fidgeting people do (moving about in your seat, or fidgeting, can be an early indicator of discomfort and may suggest a risk of later pain).

Given these criteria, research suggests there are three main options for how you can sit well at a desk. Each option has different pros and cons, and is suitable for different tasks.

Option 1: upright sitting

This is probably the posture you think of as “good” posture. The defining feature of this option is that the trunk is upright.

A key component of upright sitting is that the feet can comfortably rest on a surface, whether the floor or a footstool. This position also makes it easy to adjust posture within the chair (fidget) and change posture to get out of the chair.

Read more: How much do sedentary people really need to move? It's less than you think

It’s also important the arms hang down from the shoulders vertically with elbows by the trunk, unless the forearms are supported on the work surface. Holding unsupported arms forward requires the muscles connecting the shoulder and neck to work harder. This often results in muscle fatigue and discomfort.

The head should be looking straight ahead or a little downwards. Looking upwards would increase tension in the neck and likely lead to discomfort.

This posture is useful for common office tasks such as working on a desktop computer.

Health Check: what's the best way to sit? The Conversation, CC BY-ND Option 2: forward sitting The defining feature of this posture is that the trunk is angled forward, and the arms are rested on the work surface. Allowing the thigh to point down at an angle may make it easier to maintain an inward curve in your lower back, which is suggested to reduce low back stress. For a time special chairs were developed to enable the thigh to be angled downwards, and usually had a feature to block the knees, stopping the person sliding off the angled seat base. By perching on the front of an ordinary chair and resting your elbows on the work surface, you can use this posture to provide variety in sitting. This posture is useful for tasks such as drawing or handwriting on a flat work surface, either with paper or a touch screen device. Health Check: what's the best way to sit? The Conversation, CC BY-ND Option 3: reclined sitting The defining feature of the third option is the trunk is angled backward, supported by the chair’s backrest. Back muscle activity is lowest in this posture, as some of the upper body weight is taken by the chair. This position may reduce the risk of fatigue in the back muscles and resultant discomfort. But sitting like this for hours each day may result in the back muscles being more vulnerable to fatigue in the future. This posture is useful for meetings and phone conversations. But it doesn’t work well for handwriting or using a computer as the arms need to be held forwards for these things, requiring neck and shoulder muscle activity likely to result in discomfort. Health Check: what's the best way to sit? The Conversation, CC BY-ND Final tips consider how much time you spend sitting each day, and if it’s more that around seven hours, look for ways to reduce the total amount of time you spend sitting. For example, if you’re an office worker you can stand instead of sit for some tasks (but don’t stand for too long either) break up long periods of sitting with movement. Aim never to sit for longer than 30-60 minutes without allowing your body to experience alternative posture and movement, such as a short walk vary your sitting posture using the three options outlined above so your body has changes in the stresses placed on it remember there is no one good posture, but any posture held for a long period of time becomes a bad posture. Our bodies are meant to move regularly. Read more: Office workers, stand up from your desk for two hours a day

Authors: Leon Straker, Professor of Physiotherapy, Curtin University

Read more http://theconversation.com/health-check-whats-the-best-way-to-sit-113197

Writers Wanted

Too much information: the COVID work revolution has increased digital overload

arrow_forward

Ammonite: the remarkable real science of Mary Anning and her fossils

arrow_forward

Patch Tuesday Commentary from Chris Goettl, Senior Director of Product Management, Security at Ivanti:

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Business News

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co

4 Costly Mistake To Avoid When Subdividing Your Property

As a property developer or landowner, the first step in developing your land is subdividing it. You subdivide the property into several lots that you either rent, sell or award to shareholders. ...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion