What are the best ways to sit for long periods of time?
Do you sit on a chair more than eight hours a day? That’s the average time people find themselves sitting, especially now that working from home is more popular than ever. Sitting in a chair is not the optimal resting position for humans– as if your back doesn’t already tell you after finishing a long session of desk work. Besides being uncomfortable, sitting in a chair for long periods of time can actually induce serious health risks.
When you sit in a chair your muscles, arteries, veins, nerves, and internal organs become compressed, leaving a negative impact on your body. The sedentary lifestyle has been linked to many health conditions like obesity, increased blood pressure and sugar, as well as causing pain to the back, neck, and shoulders.
What Are the Best Ways to Sit For Long Periods?
If we look back at the history of humankind or even modern tribes of today, they rarely sit on chairs– at least not ones similar to the desk chairs we have today. After a long day of hunting and gathering, tribes gather around and rest usually on the ground in natural resting positions.
The body’s natural resting positions include lying, leaning, squatting, and kneeling. These positions require the least amount of energy and cause the lowest amount of strain. If you find yourself one of the people that spend a good part of your day sitting down, you might want to see what are the best ways to sit for you using natural resting positions.
The Deep Squat
Squatting is one of the best ways to sit and a natural resting position for your body. When you squat, your weight is distributed to your feet causing less stress to your butt and lower back. Sitting for extended periods every day can cause issues to your hips and lumbar section from the constant stress and compression.
The squatting position creates more muscle activity and usage in your knees and legs, helping to combat the negative effects of your body sitting in one position all day. Squatting can also increase knee and ankle strength, spinal decompression, as well as improve your digestion. Squatting is even the recommended position when taking a dump as it requires less straining for an easier release.
Seiza is another great way to sit that comes from ancient Japan. The word translates to ‘sitting with the correct posture’. When sitting in the seiza position, sit on your knees with both legs resting under you and your feet under your bottom. Your posture should be tall and erect. The seiza position can help improve blood circulation, strengthen your spinal cord, promote good posture, and improve your leg and ankle flexibility.
It is a common position used in yoga and meditation since it helps open up the body’s breathing circulation and doesn’t cause back pain when sitting for long periods of time. It may help to use a small meditation mat or cushion to sit on if you are on a hard surface.
Toe sitting is another great natural resting position. Similar to the seiza position, you rest your body on your knees with your legs under you, but instead of your feet being flat, you balance yourself on bent toes. Toe sitting helps stretch your feet, toes, and ankles which will improve overall mobility in your lower body. It also promotes good posture, which can help with back, neck, and shoulder pain.
The toe sit position is said to stimulate many of the body’s internal organs like the kidneys, spleen, gallbladder, liver, and stomach. According to the ancient Chinese practice of reflexology, the bottom of the feet and toes contain many meridians (energy paths in your body) connected to different organs. Stimulating and applying pressure to these areas are said to heal ailments and restore their natural balance.
The lotus sitting position is another natural resting position that you often see in yoga and meditation. To sit in a lotus position, your legs should be crossed with your feet on top of your thighs. If you are not flexible enough for the lotus position to be comfortable, you can opt to just sit ‘Indian Style’ with your legs crossed.
The lotus position can help strengthen your spine and pelvic muscles. It will loosen and open up your hips and stretch your knees so you don’t feel cramped up after sitting for long periods. Sitting in this position encourages good posture by helping keep the spine straight and is even said to help ease pain from menstrual discomfort and sciatica. It’s no wonder why monks meditate in this position for hours.
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Whether you work from home or just have a sedentary lifestyle, as many people in modern society do, practice the best ways to sit using natural resting positions to not wreak havoc on your body. Get rid of an achy back and other ailments related to sitting in a chair for many hours a day.
If sitting on the floor is not your thing, you can find ergonomic chairs like a kneeling chair or even opt to not sit at all and go for a standing desk. If you must sit on a desk chair, make sure you get proper back support like a cushion to support your back. Your body will thank you, especially when you get to an older age.