How to Prevent Pain From Sitting Too Long
Everyone loves to sit and relax but is there too much of a good thing? Sitting too long can cause aches, pains, and health problems you might’ve thought you were fixing! That’s not to say sitting is bad. The trick is to be sitting properly and to take care of yourself as you relax. Learn how to prevent pain from sitting too long by making a few conscious adjustments to keep you from being too sedentary and accidentally causing yourself more harm than good.
What are the Effects of Sitting All Day?
First let’s examine the potential negative effects of prolonged sitting. Sitting too long deconditions our body and increases the risk of injury. Our bodies are meant to move. As the old saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it!”
From a physical perspective, sitting too long can weaken core muscles along with leg and glute muscles. This issue can also be dramatically increased through poor posture. As your core weakens, more pressure is placed on the back, hips, and thighs becoming a leading cause of lower back pain from sitting too much. Other common experiences are hip pain from sitting too much, finding your knees becoming sore, butt pain, and thigh pain. Movement encourages strength and stability.
Aside from physical pain, sitting too long increases the risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart problems, anxiety, and depression. It truly plays a role in your overall bodily health. So how do you prevent pain from sitting too long?
Preventing Pain From Sitting Too Long
Learning how to prevent pain from sitting too long will help protect your body and set the foundation for a healthier lifestyle. Consider ways to improve blood circulation, relieve pressure in the lower back, and keep your body loose. A few ways to prevent pain from sitting too long are:
- Stand Up 10 Minutes for every 30 Minutes of Sitting
- Stretches and Exercises to Prevent Pain From Sitting Too Long
- Ergonomic Measures for Working From Home
- Practice Good Posture
- Health Benefits of a Zero Gravity Chairs
- Self-Care Activities for Managing Pain From Sitting Too Long
Stand Up 10 Minutes for Every 30 Minutes of Sitting
To keep your core strong and your legs and glutes engaged, try standing up for 10 minutes every half an hour. This helps prevent spinal compression and other causes of pain from sitting too long. Using your legs and engaging your core muscles to stand upright keeps your muscles strong and prevents deconditioning. This routine also helps you practice proper posture and improve your balance. Standing is important at every age but becomes increasingly important as you grow older.
A popular method to follow for those working is the 20-8-2 formula. This means sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8 minutes, and move around for 2 minutes each half hour. The end goal is to stand at least 2 hours of each workday for optimal health benefits.
Stretches and Exercises to Prevent Pain From Sitting Too Long
Incorporating stretches and exercises into your daily fitness routine is another easy method to prevent pain from sitting too long. Some stretches are so easy you can do them from your zero gravity chair during short breaks!
For seated stretches, try chin tucks, head rotations, and shoulder rolls. Each of these simple activities works to keep your spine loose and shoulders limber. If you’re looking to combine a few stretches and exercises into your standing breaks to prevent pain from sitting too long, pelvic circles and back extensions keep your hip region open and spine from compressing as much. For each exercise, repeat the motion 10 to 15 times. You don’t have to do them all at once, either! Try working a different part of your body every half hour or so.
Ergonomic Measures for Working From Home
Working from home has become increasingly more popular in recent years, leading to the need for ergonomic home offices. Whether you’re sitting at a desk or working from a zero gravity chair, learning how to prevent pain from sitting too long is crucial.
Some easy ways to prevent back pain from sitting at a desk or spending time hunched over your laptop are through body measures and small adjustments. Body measures include elbow, thigh, and calf measures. Elbow measures ensure your elbows are at a 90-degree angle while seated at your desk with arms parallel to your spine and hands on your workspace. Adjusting your chair or desk height to meet this standard helps your posture. Thigh measure and calf measure indicate your body’s position in regards to your chair height and depth respectively. If seated at a desk, you should be able to easily slide your fingers under your thigh at the front of your seat. Simultaneously, you should be able to pass your clenched fist between the back of the knee and front of the seat for optimal chair depth.
Standing desks are another ergonomic home office staple that help prevent pain from sitting too long. Available as adjustable height desks, having a standing desk help you get up and engage your lower body and core while remaining productive. You can manage your health and your work at once!
An ergonomic home office setup is important to your health while working. There are a number of other items to pair with zero gravity chairs while working from home to prevent pain from sitting too long in bad positions.
Practice Good Posture
Another way to prevent pain from sitting too long is to practice good posture. It’s important to respect the natural curvature of the spine and provide the right support to keep its shape. Poor posture can lead to lower back pain, stiff muscles, and even longer-lasting physical development problems.
Many who suffer from poor posture develop these habits at work. Be mindful of slouching or slumping over at your desk while working. If you find yourself leaning forward to see your computer screen or reading a book, a simple adjustment can make all the difference.
If you’re relaxing at home there are several easy activities to combine with zero gravity chairs to improve posture and prevent pain from sitting too long.
Health Benefits of a Zero Gravity Chairs
Developed by NASA technology after observations of the natural body position astronauts take while free from gravity, zero gravity chairs facilitate sitting the right way. The design and operation makes one of the biggest health benefits of zero gravity chairs preventing pain from sitting too long. Who would’ve thought a chair would be the answer to sitting?
Zero gravity chairs differ from regular recliners as they elevate the legs above the heart level and work to evenly distribute your body weight. The results are uncanny. Taking pressure off the back allows for spinal decompression. As the spine decompresses, discs rehydrate while oxygen and nutrients reach muscles more easily. Spinal decompression works for sciatica pain and assists in bettering blood flow.
The zero gravity position also improves blood circulation, reducing blood pressure and helping it flow more easily throughout the entire body. This further reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke. Other additional features such as massage and heat therapy function work in tandem with the health benefits of zero gravity chairs to keep muscles loose and reduce pain from sitting too long.
Self-Care Activities for Managing Pain From Sitting Too Long
Exercises, correct sitting posture, and using zero gravity chairs aren’t the only ways for how to prevent pain from sitting too long. Other self-care activities such as soaking baths, meditation, and walks are great additions to your routine.
Soaking in the Bath
Soaking in a warm epsom salt bath can work to reduce inflammation and pain, lower your stress level, and relax your body. Even a short 10-minute bath will give your body the chance to heal and relieve pain from sitting too long.
Meditation may seem like an odd item to make the list, but your mental health also affects physical wellbeing. One study showed participants practicing meditation exhibiting an almost 40% reduction in pain sensitivity after 3 days. There are endless varieties of meditation to practice so you’ll certainly find one that works for you.
Take a Walk
Last on our approach to self-care activities to prevent pain from sitting too long is getting up and going for a walk! Even 30-minutes of walking each day carries positive health benefits. This doesn’t have to be all at once. Breaking up walking throughout the day will yield the same results. By walking, you’re engaging your legs, core, and glutes keeping them strong and active. This not only reduces existing pain but can help prevent future injuries, as well.
Taking care of the body doesn’t just mean sitting down and relaxing. Learning how to sit properly and mix in activities to prevent pain from sitting too long will positively affect your overall physical and mental health. Choose a zero gravity chair to fit your lifestyle and needs and it’ll become indispensable to your daily life.
Bonus: Want to learn more ways to protect your body against pain from sitting too long? Read about these 5 lifestyle changes to improve lower back pain!