Sit up straight! Stop lanky! It is a trusted order that barked at us since school days (stock image)
Sit up straight! Stop lanky! It is a trusted order that has been barking at us since school days – and it remains the golden rule.
Whether it is balancing a book on your head or proposing a string that pulls your shoulders to the ceiling, we have all tried methods to practice a ‘good’ posture.
Health officials have long warned that collapse, whether on a computer or in front of the television, is a sure way to crippling back and neck pain – or worse.
How many times have you caught yourself behind your desk just pulling back your shoulders and adjusting in a straight, straight position?
Our dedication to a perfect seating position has fueled an entire industry focused on sitting upright. We spend billions of pounds every year on correcting chairs, apps, and even clothing – but emerging evidence suggests that lankiness may not be so bad after all.
In fact, with research indicating that swallowing can help keep our spines in shape, experts are starting to advise not to sit up.
SLIMMER TO FORGET PAIN OF THE MUSCLE AND HELP JOINTS
It is thought that sitting down, with bent shoulders and back, can cause strain on the vertebrae in the spine.
This is because as the upper body leans forward, the weight of the brain and head increases, so that the spine becomes heavier.
But a whole series of studies now suggests that it is unlikely that this will cause the previously predicted cascade of back pain.
In fact, sitting can keep the backbone intact and even relieve joint and muscle pain.
In one paper from 2018 it was observed that sitting postures increase the amount of fluid between the spine and reduce the stiffness. The posture also appeared to increase the spine over time.
Physiotherapists at the North Tees University Hospital in Stockton-on-Tees who conducted the study concluded that some lurches “can provide a valuable alternative to sitting up” in patients with low back pain.
Moreover, Australian studies have shown that, when alternating with periods of sitting up straight, slouching can relax tense muscles in the core and legs.
London-based osteopath Gavin Smith explains: “There is a cultural ideal, and even entire industries, that would argue that lankiness is not good for us and people now feel very guilty about sitting in certain ways.
Health officials have long warned that collapse, whether on a computer or in front of the television, is a sure way to crippling back and neck pain – or worse (stock image)
“But while upright muscles in the abdomen, pelvis and back are activated, she relaxes asleep.
“Because these muscles are chronically overactive in people with lower back pain, some periodic relaxation is useful.
“Alternately comfortable and relaxed upright and slumped is probably the best way to sit at your desk.”
If we try to sit too hard as we are told at work – feet flat on the floor, back straight and shoulders back with an S-shaped bend to the spine – it can backfire, which in the course of time causes tension the middle back and causes breathing problems.
Jack Chew, a spokesperson for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, who works in the NHS and in private practice, says: “Sagging is not an enemy for posture and back health, just as sitting up straight and standing are not a solution for back problems. “
THE SOLUTION FOR PAIN BACK? HAVE A FIDGET!
According to some experts, collapse is harmless if you get up and walk around every now and then.
Gavin Smith explains: “Long sitting or standing in a position is unwise. Sinking on its own is no worse than sitting upright, provided that we do not always do it. “
In studies published in the journal Spine, Australian researchers found that a combination of collapse and sitting upright was much better than sitting in one position to maintain a stable spine and strong muscles.
Another study, published in the journal Ergonomics, supports the benefits of changing position during the day.
The researchers discovered that those who only used ‘standing desks’ had considerably more pain in their legs and back. Adjustable desks that make it possible to sit and stand are better, but Smith says they cannot be cured.
“If you’re sitting at a standing desk for an hour relaxing, that’s fine,” he says. “But you should try not to be in one position for more than an hour.”
Prolonged sitting will eventually cause the buttock muscles in the buttocks to become lazy and the hamstrings in the back of the thighs to shorten and tighten.
It increases the risk of back and shoulder pain and tension when you get up immediately after sitting to move.
This is why most physical therapists now warn about prolonged sitting for long periods – but not about falling.
What is more important than the correct sitting position is that you just fiddle, move and change postures regularly.
Chew says: “” You have to think about challenging your positional capacity as much as possible during the day.
“Take a walk around lunch time, sit on different chairs and on the floor at home, move as much as you can.”
Kauw and other physiotherapists suggest sitting on a wooden chair or couch, because this forces you to move more than a padded chair with cushions.