Honestly, how many hours a day do you sit, be at work, over a book or in front of your TV? And how much active exercise do you have? Sitting at work a lot, and not moving much can cause various health issues, and back pain would be one of the first ones. And on top of that, hunched back has never made anyone more attractive. The most stressed due to long-term sitting position is our spine. Equally, it is harmed by any other stiff position accompanied by incorrect body posture. And we often realise something went wrong only when we are hit by a serious back pain or headache. Would you like to know how to keep your spin in the correct position and prevent any back pain? Read our 5 Hints, you and your back will be happier.
1) The right posture is the alpha and omega – remember when at work
Not even the best advice in the world can work perfectly unless you pay attention to the right body posture. Its position should always be symmetrical. Do not cross your legs, do not lean to the side, no hunching, no more head slumped in between your shoulders. When working with a computer, make sure your monitor is set in the right position – its upper edge should be on your eye level. Proper hand position is also important. Use a pad, it can help prevent overstressing your back as well as carpal tunnel syndrome.
The classic mistake is using keyboard fold-out feet. Often we do not realise that it is exactly because of these that we have to bend our wrists even more. So down with the keyboard fold-out feet!
If possible, change your position, work sitting and standing. Make your phone calls standing up or work your cycling machine when watching a TV show.
Try and replace your chair for an inflatable ball, at least for an hour each day. It won’t let your muscles relax and by constantly having to keep your balance you will strengthen your back and body core muscles. Overball is another good accessory – a smaller ball used in gymnastics, which is placed between the backrest and your shoulder blades. Do not inflate the ball fully, it is not meant to press you too much, yet it should not be too soft either. It will help you maintain ideal back position without any special attention you would have to pay to it. And if you tend to hunch and gape at your monitor with no control, you can even place that ball between you and your table edge, which will help maintain the right distance from the monitor.
2) Use any opportunity to move your body
Allow your body what it needs, it will certainly appreciate it. Instead of calling someone across the whole apartment, get up and go tell them. Exit the tram one stop earlier and take a walk. Use the chance to climb the stairs instead of using the lift. And when sitting, do not sit tight, unmoved. Frequent changes help against stiffening of your back as well as muscle cramps. There is nothing wrong with working hard and forgetting about the world around, but it should not prevent you from going to the toilet, stretching out when making your coffee or watering your plants. Skip having your lunch delivered for once and go for it yourself. You will clear your head and stretch your body at the same time.
3) Exercise anywhere
If you do have to spend long periods of time sitting down, it is good to get up and move around every thirty minutes. Rotate your hands palms out (start with hands parallel to your body and move them upright to the ceiling) and bend back across your chair, i.e. the opposite of the position in which you usually work. Do not forget about breathing or your colleague sitting behind you. Breathe in the lower part of your chest.
If you suffer from lower back pain, the gym ball can provide a relief. Sit on it and make wide circles with your body. This will relax your pelvis and stuck lower back nicely. Do not forget to change direction several times. When getting up from the ball, cross your palms behind your back and when breathing in bend back slightly as if leaning against the palms of your hands. Remain in that position for a while, breathe easy and stretch out. Have you ever tried lying on a gym ball? Do it, as nothing relaxes and stretches your back as reliably.
When doing your stretching, do not forget about your neck, which is often under strain. Remember that when you find yourself staring at your screen from 20 cm away. Tilt your head to one side, then the other, or across toward your knee. Do not make any jerky movements, just smooth and slow. No crunching of anything! Do not hesitate to join your palms behind your head and push your head into them.
4) Body and mind are one
You must be familiar with the phrase “he’s got a lot on his back”. The condition of our back also influences the state of our mind. Back pain may also be of mental character. Negative emotions, stress and strain in muscles can ruin the conditions of your back. It is especially stress that influences breathing and muscle tone, which, together with back strain, can lead to chronic disorders. From time to time, check your breathing, it should be relaxed and fluent. When under stress, we often breathe irregularly or hold our breath and thus prevent proper blood circulation in our muscles – including those of our back. So, no panic, take it easy, as a rule.
5) Mobile apps, modern help
If you often become wrapped up in what you are doing and forget changing your body position, there are various smart mobile apps that can help. Using data that you set, these can alert you if you spend too long sitting down, count the total number of steps you make and suggest options of stretching your body quickly. Have you ever set your alarm at work to remind you to have a snack?