The working world is besieged with articles on the dangers of sitting. Spend too long hanging around in your Herman Miller, the theory goes, and you can wind up with everything from low back pain to diabetes. But what about how we sit?
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, reporter Heidi Mitchell looked into the issue of slouching, and whether our backs will suffer if we don’t improve our posture. Her first stop was to consult Mladen Golubic, the medical director for the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute.
Golubic had studies and independent research to share, but cautioned that there isn’t a lot of research on the best way to sit. Studies from America and Scotland conclude variously that we should be sitting at 110 – 130 degree angle and a 135 degree angle. He himself favors “relaxed, straight sitting” with a strong core and active shoulder blades, which “expands your chest, allowing you to take in a larger breath.” The result? “More energy and focus.”
Slouching over a long period time will affect your spine and weaken your muscles, causing your whole body to gradually change. It’s also bad for your motivation and mood: project an attitude of depression for long enough, and you’ll start to believe it — and so will your coworkers.
Still, it matters less how you sit than how long you sit. Slumped over the keyboard or sitting up straight as a rail, if you stay glued to your chair, you’re risking a host of ailments much worse than lowered productivity.
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