New research has found we spend a staggering 36 years of our adult life taking the weight off our feet but is your sitting position affecting your health?
A British skincare company has found that we spend 14 hours and 28 minutes each day sitting on our derrieres. That's the equivalent of 36 years. Factor in eight hours' sleep and that leaves a measly one and a half hours that we're on our feet!
A pain in the back
According to Tim Hutchful from the British Chiropractor Association (BCA), this isn't good news especially for our posture and spinal health. ''From an anatomical point of view, we have not evolved to sit,'' he says.
The BCA's major concern is preventing back pain and while sitting per se doesn't actually cause slipped discs or muscular knots, scientists last year, reported in the European Spine Journal that sitting for more than half of your working day, and worse still, sitting with poor posture, did increase the risk.
It's all about angles
So how should we be sitting? Surprisingly, sitting straight isn't the answer; apparently it's all about angles. ''Whether you're hunched over your computer or slouching on the sofa, if you're in a position where the angle between your thighs and torso is below 90 degrees, you're putting excessive pressure on the spine,'' says Hutchful. Worse still, ''An angle of 80 degrees puts double the amount of pressure on the lumbar spine compared to standing up,'' he says.
The ideal sitting position is with a 110 degree angle between your legs and spine, with your bottom pushed into the back of the seat and your back, legs and bottom in contact with the chair. Sounds complicated, but get this right and you can kiss back pain goodbye.
Don't forget to keep moving
Great, you've got the sitting down part sorted, but what about a bit of movement too? Regardless of how comfortable you are in your new sitting position it's important to mix it up. ''No matter how good your position is, it is still important to vary it,'' says Hutchful. For this reason, the good old-fashioned rocking chair gets a big thumbs up as it forces you to constantly change positions or even better, get up and stretch your legs every 40 minutes.