How to sit at your computer to avoid back pain

You may have heard that sitting too much can be bad for your health but what is really behind that thinking and how can we correct it? Let’s take a look at how to sit in front of your computer to avoid pain, strain and fatigue.

Sitting seems like an innocent act but as Dr. Kelly Starrett explains, there are many things, and many people don’t sit up straight that creates pain, stiffness and fatigue as the muscles shorten and weaken over time.

Sitting—like standing—is one of the most technically challenging things we do. However, most of us are clumsy when it comes to sitting comfortably.

Studies have also shown risk factors from more sitting include diabetes, vascular problems, weight gain, depression, dementia, and even multiple cancers.

Sitting is an inevitable part of modern life, so let’s get into the mechanics of how to sit properly. We’ll also look at how to use an exercise ball as a great chair option, standing desks and more.

How to sit to avoid back pain and fatigue: 4 steps

From the book Starrett Dr Become a Supple Leopard via

  1. From standing, bend your butt as far as you can
  2. Pull your ribcage to align it with your leg and tighten your abs to at least 20% tension.
  3. Keep your head in a neutral position and your shoulders in a relaxed position
  4. Maintain that position and sit
  • You’re not limited to sitting perfectly straight: You can still lean forward, or lean back while maintaining a neutral-neutral spine.

Here is a picture of the perfect sitting position in three different directions:

How to sit on the path of your computer

How to sit up straight all day

Starrett. Dr highlights some really useful tips for staying in a neutral supported position throughout the day at our computers and desks.

  • Reset your sitting position every 10-15 minutes with the steps above
  • Change your position often: sitting to standing, kneeling, stretching, walking, etc.
  • If you tend to round your back or overextend your back, build awareness

The best way to avoid getting into a bad position is to stand up and reorganize every 10-15 minutes. It is almost impossible to stay in good shape longer than this. I know – it’s a pain in the stomach and not always possible. But if you want to heal your body and reach your performance goals, you have to work. You have to make sacrifices. So pony up!

I personally use a standing desk and alternate between sitting with a neutral spine on an exercise ball and standing in place every 30 minutes.

An exercise ball is a great way to become more aware of and maintain proper sitting position because it prevents you from leaning back in a chair. The ease of movement on the ball is also nice.

Here’s a look at the upright (A), over-rounded (B), and over-extended (C) position:

How to sit properly on your computer track 2

For an in-depth look at how proper sitting mechanics work, check out this video:

For more from Dr Become a Supple Leopard and the website, Ready State.

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