Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Living section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.
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Slouching, slumping, suffering
I took an evening yoga class once where the teacher told us her goal was to help us undo the damage we’d done to ourselves sitting at our desks all day. She was mighty ambitious.
The longer I work behind a desk, the bigger fan I am of a yoga pose called cat-and-cow, which involves alternately flexing and hunching the spine while on all fours. After hunching for so much of the day, the flexing feels wonderful! (Youtube.com has lots of videos demonstrating how to do it, if you’re inclined to try it.)
How you sit during the day has a big bearing on how much you suffer. Hours of lousy posture hurt, so consider the advice below from Truong Rehabilitation Center in Spotsylvania County, whose employeess attended our company’s recent wellness fair.
Among the tips they shared (and I’m paraphrasing their handout a bit):
- When sitting, your feet should be flat on the floor, and your thighs should be parallel to the floor. If your feet don’t reach the floor, get a footrest.
- The top edge of your computer monitor should be the same height as your eyes (though if you wear bifocals, you should position the monitor lower).
- When typing, your elbows should be bent at about a 90-degree angle, with your wrists straight and your forearms roughly parallel to the floor.
- Your seat should provide firm support at the lumbar region (the curve of the lower back).
It goes without saying, but sitting for too long can lead to chronic pain, especially of the neck and back, so taking walk breaks, and occasionally standing while working, is important.