With sitting, it is not necessarily the fact that we sit that is the problem. It is more the fact that we tend to sit without moving for so long and that is where the quote above makes sense. You see, we need to move regularly and that is why your best sitting position is the one you will move to next.
With that in mind though, there are good and bad ways to sit and there is definitely a good place to start After doing some research on this, I came across several people who all suggested a similar ideal starting position.
- Sit on the edge of your chair (effectively making it a stool) and rock your pelvis forward so the weight of your upper body is in the Ischial Tuberosities (the bones of your bum).
- Sit up nice and tall and turn on your core so you have some stability in the area.
- Have your knees just outside hip width to create some stability in the pelvis.
- Have your feet flat on the ground.
- Aim to have 60% of your weight on your pelvis and 40% of your weight on your feet.
- This is an ‘ideal’ position to sit in. You are probably thinking, how am I supposed to sit like this all day? The answer is you are not. The idea is that you need to move, ideally every 20-30 minutes. If you haven’t sat like this for a while, you will likely not have the postural strength to support it for a long period of time, so it is worth working on. When I switched to a stool in my chiropractic office it took a while to build up strength, but now I am happy using a stool. Try sitting like this for 20 minutes and then sit back into the chair and use the backrest to give your back a break. Over the course of a few weeks you will notice your postural strength improve and you will be able to ‘sit up straight’ for longer.
- Why no backrest? According to Dr Starrett there are two advantages for not using a back rest. Firstly it encourages you to keep your trunk tight which means a more supported spine. Secondly, it keeps the weight off your Femurs and hamstrings. Sitting in the back of the chair with your pelvis rolled back puts lots of pressure on the femurs and hamstrings which they are not designed for and can lead to hip problems.
- Perching on the edge of your chair enables better use of sitting ergonomics. When you sit and lean back in the chair invariably you will need to reach forward to use the mouse and type. This compromises ideal posture and puts pressure on your shoulders, neck and upper back.
- This position requires what we call active sitting. Basically, this means you have to actively sit there, rather than just flop against a chair or lean on armrests. (A chair like the Tip Ton chair is great for enabling active sitting. These are a chairs we have in our reception area. See what you think when you are in next).
- Listen to your body. If you are sitting and feel aches or pains, then make sure you move.
- Changing positions is great, but once and hour it is important to get up and have walk around, do a few simple stretches and get your blood pumping again. Even if you sit in the best possible position, but you sit there all day, it is still going to cause you harm. Movement is life.
This sitting position should be the go to starting position when sitting. As the quote at the start said, your best position is your next one, so you do need to move regularly. In my next post I will discuss a few other positions that you can try when sitting, but in the meantime, practice this one. Your body will thank you for it.
- Starrett, K. Deskbound: Standing up to a sitting world. Victory Belt Publishing, 2016
- Image: Starrett, K. Deskbound: Standing up to a sitting world. Victory Belt Publishing, 2016
- American Posture Institue. http://www.americanpostureinstitute.com