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The Health Risks of Poor Office Seating

The Health Risks of Poor Office Seating
July 17, 2013 gnuworld

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If you have an office job, it’s likely that you spend a large part of every work day sitting. You may sit during a commute to and from work, sit during meal times and then sit when you get home, after a long day’s work. Sitting for so many hours puts pressure on your spine. Over weeks, months or even years, this can lead to back pain and spinal damage.

The Importance of Good Posture

Poor seating posture can be the result of poorly designed seating, or of habit. It’s the main culprit in seating-related back pain and injury. The lumbar region of the back suffers most. This is the area where the upper body meets the lower body – the lower half of the “S” shape of a healthy spine. Prolonged seating with bad posture can cause the lower half of the spine’s “S” shape to bend out, making the spine into more of a gradual “C” curve. A “C” shaped spine is far less sturdy, and can lead to damage of the vertebral discs.

How to prevent back strain

One trick for preventing bad posture is to lock your seat into a semi-recline so that the weight of the body is pulled back toward the backrest. This ensures better spinal support and lifts some of the weight off the lower back and hips.

Also don’t overlook the importance of using a seat with properly designed armrests. These help keep your arms at the proper 90-degree angle to a keyboard. They also lift the weight of your arms and some of the weight of your upper body from your lower back and hips.

Note that exercising won’t make up for the damage caused by prolonged periods of sitting with poor posture. However, you can help prevent this damage from occurring by regularly moving and changing your position throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to get up and move around for 5 minutes after every hour you spend sitting. To remind yourself to do this, you could set a reminder or alarm on your phone or computer.

Moving around regularly can also help you combat the weight gain associated with lack of exercise. The body produces an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which helps burn fat into energy and turn bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood into good cholesterol (HDL). Research has shown that after just an hour of uninterrupted sitting, production of this enzyme falls by up to 95%. The answer is to move around whenever possible.

Finally, make sure you drink a lot of water throughout the day. This will keep you properly hydrated, and regular trips to the bathroom will force you not to stay seated for too long at a time!

If you are looking for office chairs that are ergonomic and promote healthy sitting then you have come to the right place at K-Mark.