How to Save Your Back from the Damage of Sitting Too Much

I am NOT overdramatic when I say that spending too much time sitting is not a good thing.

Many of us do this for a variety of reasons.

Whether we work at a desk all day, or we’re just lazy, hanging out in a chair for hours at a time wreaks havoc on the body.

My friend Nataly over at Myrka Street wrote a post about the adverse effects that sitting has on the body. In it, she shared an infographic and a couple of helpful videos, so I encourage you to check it out.

However, in this post, I’m going to come at you from a different angle.

Not only will I dispense some tips and ideas you can easily follow if you fit into this category, but I’ll even throw in some thought provoking questions to awaken the desire to become more present so you can remember to follow the suggestions instead of simply reading about them and saying “hey, yeah that’s great – I need to do that” – and then forgetting all about it.

Because let me tell you something…

This is going to catch up with you. I just about guarantee it.

And when it does, it won’t be pretty.

It’ll hurt.

Your life will become hell because pain isn’t cool.

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So get ready to bookmark this post, pin it and refer to it for a reminder when you need to get up and move around.

You’ll want to start doing this as soon as possible.

How to Save Your Back from the Damage of Sitting Too Much

The good news is, there are things you can do to help alleviate the damage that inevitably occurs when you spend a lot of time sitting.

You don’t have to do anything dramatic, but you do need to be present, mindful and persistent.

It also doesn’t matter whether you sit too often because of work, or anything else.

The idea is to take action in small, but consistent ways. You’ll follow the path of least resistance and stick with it.

There are three things you can do starting right now (and after finishing this sentence, I’ll be doing this as well).

They are:

  1. Use the Pomodoro Technique
  2. Stretch and Move Around Daily
  3. Strengthen Your Core

1 – Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique was created as a way to implement time management wisely and in an organized fashion.

It’s a pretty simple technique, and you can use it for any project.

You set a timer for 25 minutes. In this amount of time, you do your work without breaking concentration. When the timer goes off, you take a mandatory 5-minute break.

In those 5 minutes, you are NOT to continue working. This is YOUR time.

If you watch the video here, you’ll learn that it’s a good idea to have your cycles of this set in advance depending on your projects. However, I still find that you can be creative about how to use this.

But to stick with what I’ve discovered to be most effective, you would:

Set a cycle of four timers. This would be for two hours worth of work.

You don’t have to have an actual timer. There are free ones you can use online.

If for example, you’ve decided on those two hours, you would work for 25 minutes and take a 5-minute break. You would do this four times – and then either choose to continue or take a 15-30 minute break.

How you manage that is up to you (as far as I’m concerned).

In those 5 minute breaks, you would get up, walk around, stretch or just find a way to move in general.

This would provide you with 10 minutes per hour to relieve your body of the stress of sitting (yes, I did say the stress of sitting) and allow for the blood to flow and muscles to be used.

If you set that timer, you’ll be reminded of the intentions you’ve set for yourself. We all know how easy it is to get caught up in what we’re doing and forget about our well-being.

Try this technique out. I have no doubt it’ll do you (and your back) some good.

2 – Stretch and Move Around Daily

While I am aware that not everyone is motivated to exercise, stretching and light movement shouldn’t be an issue.

This is not only doable, regardless of your current level of fitness, but it’s super pleasant.

I can’t express how wonderful your body feels while you’re stretching, and afterward. You just feel lighter, more limber and free.

I encourage moving around a little before stretching or engaging in dynamic (movement based) stretching because it’s easier (and in my opinion, safer) to do this when the muscles are warm.

Don’t force a stretch. Your body will tell you when you’re about to overdo it.

Listen to your body when it tells you a specific movement isn’t pleasant. It’s fine to feel a mild sense of tension in the presence of a stretch, but it will be accompanied by a feeling of relief as well.

If you feel an impending strain, pain or cramp, stop. That means you’re doing too much. Nothing good can come from this. There are consequences to forcing your body to do what it isn’t capable of doing.

If you’d like some ideas to start with now, you can check out my post with the infographic containing Yoga stretches, along with the one I’ve written about the benefits of a walk at home program.

I’ll also include this video to offer you some stretches you can do at work.

3 – Strengthen Your Core

One of the best ways to prevent pain and immobility, even in the presence of long durations of sitting is to have a strong and flexible core.

The core includes any and all muscles between the shoulders and legs. It includes your hips, which benefit from being flexible and capable of moving with ease in all planes (sagittal/ forward and backward, frontal/ side to side and horizontal/ rotational) of human movement.

The plank is an excellent way to build core strength. Pushups are great too, and so is anything that involves light twisting and lateral flexion.

Lateral flexion is the act of same side bending and extending. An example of this is to stand straight and reach your hand down that same thigh. The internal obliques are targeted with this movement.

Rotation is when you twist your trunk (mid back – including the entire thoracic spine). This works the external obliques – which lie on top of the (deep) internal obliques.

This is why a variety of movements is so important.You can also work these muscles statically (without moving). If you were to hold a side plank, you’d be working your internal obliques in the absence of bending them.

If you are new to exercise, start at a beginner’s level. It’s the safest way to begin an exercise program and you’ll avoid unnecessary injury.

I’ll share a couple of videos you can follow along with to give you some ideas of how to strengthen your core, regardless of your immediate environment.

Here’s one demonstrating simple plank variations from beginner to expert level:

And here’s a dynamic exercise you can do. She has a medicine ball, but you can still do this without equipment.

Lastly, here’s a beginner’s level of a standing knee to opposite elbow core exercise for strength and flexibility.

You can progress this as you go along, but from the videos I’ve watched, this one seems most appropriate to share.

 

Applying This Consistently

You don’t have to be an exercise maniac to gain the benefits of movement.

Simple, but consistent applications will work beautifully.

By combining these three techniques, you’ll remember to do this, you’ll experience the positive effects of stretching and you’ll build some core strength and mobility.

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You’ll also take these breaks in an effort to get some “me time”, which is an excellent way to reconnect with yourself. It’ll alleviate stress, get you centered and provide you with the ability to discipline yourself regarding your well-being.

I had to get up several times while writing this because even though I’ve exercised plenty over the last several years, my back gets sore and tight from too much sitting.

I do a lot of writing, and combined with the years I had spent as a hairstylist – bending and stretching unnaturally for hours at a time, I have to be mindful. Otherwise, I’ll get a flare up – and when I do, it isn’t fun.

And Those Thought Provoking Questions I Mentioned Earlier…

Some of you may have a hard time making this work.

It won’t be because these tips are difficult to follow. It’ll be because you either have limiting beliefs about what you think you can or cannot do – or you may work in a field that doesn’t “allow you” to take breaks.

As I had mentioned, I worked as a hairstylist for 20 years. I was a shampoo assistant for 2 years prior to getting my Cosmetology license.

There were many days when I wasn’t permitted to take a break because of the huge pile up of work to be done.

I suffered for this, and it was a big reason I wanted to leave the field altogether.

I would often skip meals and I would stand for hours at a time in pain. There were clients to attend to – and of course, money to be made.

I’ve decided that there is no price tag on my well-being. I’d rather earn less and be healthy.

And there may be a few of you out there who work for places that don’t allow you to take the time to be good to yourself, regardless of the reason.

Or maybe you work for yourself and don’t feel you can afford to take breaks because you won’t be able to meet those deadlines and make your clients happy.

Well, I have some questions to ask you:

~ Can you do good work if you’re suffering in pain?

~ Are you an asset to someone else if you’re a liability to yourself?

~ And how does money make it ok to endure pain – if you’ll have to use that same money you’ve been killing yourself over to pay for the medical expenses that will pile up because of your actions?

Think about that for a minute and with a clear mind, ask yourself if you’re worth being well.

And if your boss has a problem with it, you can remind them that unless the company is happy to shell out thousands of dollars to cover your care just so they can overwork you…

…so that your contribution to their profit level gets spent covering your medical bills over easily preventable conditions – you’ll make your decisions regarding your well-being, thank you very much.

And if it costs you your job, ask yourself this:

~ Can you work your job efficiently while you’re doped up on pain medication?

~ Can you stand/sit for hours at a time with a herniated disc or inflammation of the sacroiliac joints – and focus on what you’re doing and be productive?

~ And would it be so bad to maybe, just maybe simplify your lifestyle and expenses to allow for your health to take priority over keeping up with the Joneses?

Or more accurately, your “IDEA” of what the Joneses have ( btw, most of these folks are deeply in debt – and have no life, freedom or peace.)

Grab your power. No one else will do it for you.

Be good to yourself or others will gladly take advantage of you. Not because they’re bad people, but because they too are in survival mode – and still unconsciously unconscious about what life is really about.

If YOU are someone whose well-being comes before profit, you’ll set a standard for others to follow.

This will begin to create a world filled with empowered people…and it’ll be a good thing.

No one owns you. You are your “dictator.” Not your boss, not your spouse, not your relatives.

No one.

Just you.

Sorry for my rant, but I am passionate about encouraging others to align with their strength.

Take charge of your well-being.

If you aren’t sure where to start, a wellness coach can help. I offer a complimentary no obligation consultation. Click here for more information.

Try my tips out and let me know how they work in the comments section.

Do you suffer from the effects of sitting for too long?

Don't get caught plagiarizing

Dana Gore

Author of the books "A Simple Guide to Exercise Safety (What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You)" and "Streetwise Philosophy (A Bullshit-Free Approach to Spiritual Maturity)", Dana Gore is a health and fitness professional, wellness coach, and freelance writer. Dana brings guidance to the public about how to achieve optimal health in a safe and structured manner while inspiring her readers to seek self-awareness and inner peace as a means to well-being in all areas of life.

49 thoughts on “How to Save Your Back from the Damage of Sitting Too Much

  • at 10:09 pm
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    Hi, thanks for sharing this wonderful post. It is very timely for me, I’ll definitely do these exercises. Really Great!

    Reply
    • at 1:14 pm
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      Glad you got something valuable out of it.

      I think most of us could use the reminder. I know how easy it is for me to get caught up in my work, even to the point of ignoring what’s best for my body.

      Enjoy the exercises 🙂

      Reply
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  • at 3:39 pm
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    Hello Dana,

    Its really a healthy post. Taking break when you work is very important to relax your mind and body. Constantly sitting is bad because most of body parts, especially the lower like legs and knees don’t move. Due to this, blood flow goes slow in the legs and in fact in whole body. You might know when blood flow is not proper, it is not normal.

    Apart from this, constantly sitting may give pain in back if you don’t sit in good posture. So, taking breaks make things up, and relax the whole body and mind as well.

    About your question, I am with you that we cannot work well when we are in pain. The work is done great when your mind and body is relaxed.

    Thanks for the awesome post, Danna.
    Enjoy the weekend.

    Reply
    • at 5:48 pm
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      Hi Atish,

      Welcome to my blog 🙂

      You are right on the money. We sure don’t work well when we’re in pain.
      And yes, our posture does take a beating when we’re in the same position for too long a period of time – especially if we aren’t mindful of how we’re sitting (which is often the case).

      It’s possible to have a great desk chair or to sit on a stability ball or something, but when we’re doing this all day every day, it still builds up.

      And yes, the circulation ends up compromised and it slows things down and wreaks havoc on our bodies.

      Great to stop and walk around, stretch and take breaks. Small tweaks, but so effective.

      I appreciate that you enjoyed the post – and I’m happy you found your way over here.
      Great to meet you Atish. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  • at 11:59 pm
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    These are great. setting the timer. I try not to sit more than an hour at a time anyway. i have stairs I do at least 10 times a day. and a twenty minute walk. I think I will have to add a few more of these into that .

    Reply
    • at 10:07 am
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      Hi Sandy,

      It’s great that you move around as often as you do.
      It’ll definitely help to alleviate some of the negative effects that sitting for too long causes.

      Getting up every hour is also useful, so it’s cool to hear that you do this.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  • at 4:54 pm
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    Hi Dana,

    I have tips #1-3 down pat.

    All rock.

    Breaks every 50 minutes to walk around and stretch for a few moments.

    Just be all in on this one. Because time tests your back and how you take care of it. Or, how you ignore it.

    I need to be extra careful after years of heavy weightlifting. My back’s been out thru the ringer; gotta take care of it.

    Signing off from sunny NYC.

    Ryan

    Reply
    • at 5:24 pm
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      Hey Ryan,

      That’s awesome that you take care of your back. These are easy steps – they just take some consistency.

      A break every 50 minutes is great. It’s amazing what walking around will do to prevent a build up of pain and pressure.

      I’m sure the heavy weightlifting took its toll over time. There are benefits to high-level exercises, but they still cause a certain amount of stress over time.

      Enjoy your day in NYC. I’m sure the weather is getting pretty over there 🙂

      Reply
  • at 1:43 am
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    I’m not gonna lie… I ain’t doing none of this! lol What I have taken up is all the walking that I do, especially in the house. I rarely sit longer than an hour, and most of the time I find myself getting up around 30 to 45 minutes at the most and walking around the house a few times, whether it’s intentional (as in I need to get or do something) or just as a break from all the sitting… which is easy to do because of all the writing.

    Now if I’ll just start stretching again… oh well, one thing at a time. 🙂

    Reply
    • at 11:15 am
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      Hi Mitch,

      Well, I can see why you might not feel excited about the plank, but the stretching video and the other core exercises aren’t difficult.

      It’s good that you get up and move around. Stretching would be very helpful. It’s also relaxing.

      You can do 5 minutes of stretching at a time, but I always recommend warming up the muscles a bit first. The best time to do this would be after one of your walks.

      Have a good weekend 🙂

      Reply
  • at 5:40 pm
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    As a blogger, experiencing back pains is something which ought to be taken lightly. I used to experience it a lot but things have changed now.

    I always make sure my back is always behind the the chair and now exercises a lot.
    This is indeed a great post which every blogger must read.

    Reply
    • at 6:01 pm
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      Hi Emmanuel,

      Welcome to my blog 🙂

      Yep, bloggers need to take this seriously. Anyone who sits for long periods of time can receive a lot from this info.

      I’m sure arranging your position in your chair has helped. And exercise does as well. Strengthening the core is so important. A weak one leads to pain whether you sit a lot or not, so it’s a good idea to keep it strong and in good shape.

      Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  • at 5:40 pm
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    Hey Dana,

    This was a powerful post. If there’s one thing I know about I know about back pain.

    For a few years I suffered from psiatic pain. I use to go salsa dancing for the relief (and it was a great excuse to go)

    So a couple of years ago I started doing yoga which helped take a lot of the pain away.

    But now I just have l I were back pain now at times. I just started doing calisthenics excersizes which helps. I make sure I add core and lower back strengthening exercises into my weekend routine.

    Thanks for sharing Dana and I hope you have a great weekend!

    Reply
    • at 12:55 pm
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      Hi Sherman,

      I’m glad you found value in my post 🙂

      I’m also happy that you’ve found relief from the activities you’ve included in your life.
      I know Yoga has some wonderful benefits to offer. I’ve incorporated several poses and stretches when I have a flare up and they’ve been quite helpful.

      Back pain is no fun – and it isn’t always something that happens as a result of an injury. It can occur slowly over time from inactivity and weakened muscles, so it’s always good to do preventative things.

      I appreciate that you’ve shared this. It means a lot to me and others who will benefit from this info.

      I did enjoy my weekend, and I hope you did as well.
      Have a great week Sherman – and thanks so much for stopping by.

      Reply
  • at 1:30 pm
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    I’m so blessed to have little ones who keep me on my toes. When I start to work on my blog my little one always needs me to take her to the bathroom or for me get her something to drink. I guess I should be thankful because she is doing my back a great favor. Such an amazing post girlie. 🙂

    Reply
    • at 1:56 pm
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      Ahhh, well that’s a fantastic way to keep moving 🙂 Definitely a reason to be thankful.

      The small breaks are so helpful. I know how easy it is to get caught up in things, especially online.

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Have a great weekend.

      Reply
  • at 1:35 am
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    Great ideas! I actually have problems with my back from years of dance practice. Now, I have to get up and stretch every 20 minutes. I’ve also found relief with a tennis ball to get out some tension, and a heating pad at the end of the day.

    Reply
    • at 1:59 pm
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      Hi Shann,

      Ok, so you know what back pain is all about. It sure isn’t fun.
      I’ve never tried the tennis ball remedy. I’ll look into that.

      Heating pads and cold packs can be effective. Getting up, moving around and stretching are excellent ways to alleviate issues.
      Glad you’ve found this useful. Have a great weekend 🙂

      Reply
  • at 10:56 pm
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    Hi Dana,

    Some great tips shared! Most of the time, I forget to move from my place whenever am too much occupied in my work. I know that it has a harmful effect on my body. But I try to compensate that by running or working out a day. I really liked your Pomodoro Technique which is easy to follow. Thanks for sharing this post with us!

    Reply
    • at 2:00 pm
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      Hey Ana,

      The Pomodoro technique is fantastic. It’s not only a great time management tool, but it’s ideal for remembering to take breaks.

      Working out helps too – so it’s cool you do this. If you start implementing the additional strategies presented here, you’ll be good to go 🙂

      Reply
  • at 5:40 pm
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    Hi Dana. You have offered great advice here, with the rant as well. I completely agree. I would say that if your employer doesn’t respect your need to take care of yourself then you need a new employer, or become your own employer.

    It is essential to move. I worked for many years in IT stuck at a desk. I would regularly get up to go to the restroom, get some water, or just stand up and stretch for a minute. It was also good to take a beak from what I was working on just to clear my head. I was fortunate to work at a place that knew the importance of that and encouraged it.

    Then I went to massage school where body mechanics became very important. Most massage therapists put themselves out of business in only a few years because of injury from not paying attention to how they were standing or moving.

    Now that I work from home, it’s back to making sure that I get up regularly (like you said). There are enough other things that need to be done in a small house with two homeschooled kids that I have more than enough reason to get up regularly to stretch and move. The ability to move is one of those “use it or lose it” abilities, so you have to use it.

    Reply
    • at 2:08 pm
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      Hi Ben,

      I’m glad you liked the post – and I’m thrilled you enjoyed my rant 🙂

      It just came out. I’ve either witnessed or personally encountered too many workplace situations where the well-being of the people at these places wasn’t taken into consideration. I used to work long days as a stylist or assistant at hair salons and there were plenty of times when I couldn’t take a break. I paid for it dearly and the money was NEVER worth it.

      I’m sure that homeschooling keeps you active in such a good way. I think the entire idea of homeschooling is awesome if it’s something you can do.

      Regarding massage school, I’ve known several massage therapists over the years from both being in the salon industry and personal training. I don’t know how they do it. You put everything into this and I know how taxing it can be on the body. I know you have to be mindful of how you position yourself. I’m under the impression it can take a lot out of a person.

      I appreciate your visit Ben. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  • at 1:10 pm
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    Hey Dana,

    I didn’t know you had worked as a hairstylist for that many years, I learned something new about your today. My hairstylist is having back issues and she’s a year older then me. She knows why of course and then my niece is a hair stylist but she doesn’t want to do that forever either for a lot of these same reasons.

    Anyway, about your topic. As you know I was in the secretarial field for over 31 years so I sat ALL day long. Even when I took lunch I mostly ate at my desk although I would at times try to find someplace else to sit so I could read.

    Now I work at home and I’m still sitting but after about four years I finally bought me the best chair ever and that nipped the pain I was having in my back due to sitting all day in a horrible chair. The other thing is that I don’t exactly do the Pomodoro technique but because I drink a LOT of water I’m up and down a lot either relieving myself or getting me more water. Every four hours I take my dog out and we walk around for at least 15 minutes. Sometimes I stretch but most of the time it’s just good to get out of the house. I also walk everyday with Mom for 30 minutes so I’m actually doing SO much better since working at home then I ever did at my day job. Getting a break there was hard.

    I will say though that I don’t really have any back issues but every once in awhile I will and I have the best book in the world that has the best back exercises that actually work. I mean they will alleviate pain at the snap of your fingers. Best investment I ever made.

    Sitting all day is bad for you, I’m not going to make any excuses here so thanks for sharing these exercises. I’m not getting any younger as you very well know.

    ~Adrienne

    Reply
    • at 2:15 pm
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      Hi Adrienne,

      Yep, I was a stylist for many years. I don’t doubt yours is experiencing back pain. It happens frequently in this field. You spend hours a day on your feet in unnatural positions. Breaks can be seldom (if you’re busy – and I was) and in my humble opinion, it isn’t a deliberate nor effective way to keep the body moving properly.

      I think it’s great that you take several breaks. Whatever form it works best for you is right.

      Walking your dog and taking those 30-minute walks with your Mom are effective. Eventually I’ll get a decent chair. For now, my “office” is pretty informal.

      I’d love to get the name of that book you mentioned. Sounds like it’s been a huge help.

      Thanks so much for stopping by Adrienne. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

      Reply
      • at 3:26 pm
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        Hey Dana,

        I was trying to find the receipt on my chair but we have an office store not far from me and they were having a BIG sale. I KNEW I needed a better chair and it’s the best investment I ever made. Trust me, it’s great for your back if you have to sit all day so I highly recommend you think about investing in a darn good chair.

        The book is “Treat Your Own Back” by Robin McKenzie. Seriously, best book I’ve ever invested in and it’s a small paperback that I believe I got on Amazon probably a good 12 years ago. Just did a search and it’s still there, under $10. That’s how long I’ve had this one and I bought one for my Mom too.

        Have a good weekend my dear.

        ~Adrienne

        Reply
        • at 3:36 pm
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          Hey Adrienne,

          Thank-you for that. I’ll get the book.

          I have no doubt about the chair. They can make or break a working situation.

          I’m so glad I have the premium version of CommentLuv…lol. It’s so good to know my replies are reaching everyone 🙂

          Reply
  • at 8:20 pm
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    Hey Dana!

    I needed to read this. I for one suffer from sitting too long. I need to listen to my body but I really put it through the grinder. I do get up but not as often as I should and I do make it a point to stretch often, again, that’s not good enough.

    I’m going to watch the plank video. I’ve always wanted to learn how to…I need to strengthen my core.

    The one thing I need to practice is consistency…I’m really bad at keeping an exercise routine.

    Thanks for this reminder Dana…I needed it. 🙂

    Talk soon gf. Miss ya!

    Cori

    Reply
    • at 2:19 pm
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      Hey Cori,

      Oh good. I’m glad you got something valuable out of this 🙂

      If you try the Pomodoro technique, it’ll help to remind you to take those breaks. Sitting for too long isn’t good for the back or anything else, so I hope you give that a try.

      The plank is an excellent core exercise. The video offers some great demonstrations for different levels of ability. If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask.

      Consistency is key. I hope this inspired you. I’m always here if you need me 🙂

      Have a great weekend Cori!

      Reply
  • at 6:57 pm
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    Hey Dana,
    These are some fantastic exercises that anyone who sits for long periods of time can definately benefit from 🙂 I know how important it is to strengthen your core and keep your back strong. Appreciate you sharing your knowledge of how to make sure your back stays strong 🙂 For me going to the gym 4 times a week helps me so much! Thanks for the awesome share!

    Reply
    • at 2:20 pm
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      Hi Joan,

      I’m glad you found value in this.
      As someone who works online, I know you can relate.

      It’s great that you work out four times a week. That’s helpful. I’m sure your body is far more forgiving because of this. It really does help.

      Thanks for stopping by Joan 🙂

      Reply
  • at 5:03 pm
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    Hi Dana,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and tips here!

    I’m the first to admit that I don’t have a good posture – spent too many years in front of a computer! But I do have a stretching regime for first thing in the morning and a 30-min walk at lunch time.

    I do need to start using the Pomodoro technique with the 25+5 split. It’s just so easy to get sucked into writing a blog post that you forget to break. So, I’ll be trying an online timer!

    Do you recommend a standing desk? I asked the physician about this and he said it’s an option, but just as effective is a ‘saddle chair’. Just wondered what your thoughts were?

    Thanks again Dana!
    – David

    Reply
    • at 6:13 pm
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      Hi David,

      Welcome to my blog 🙂

      I’m glad you’ve gotten something valuable out of what’s been shared here.

      Healthy posture is something a lot of us lose, especially when we stay in any position for long durations of time – standing or sitting.

      There have been several people mentioning the standing desk option. I think it’s a cool idea, but if there’s an adjustable one, I think that would be ideal.

      Comparing it to the saddle chair, this is how I (personally) see it…

      The chair may promote good posture because it encourages you to sit straight without leaning on something. But if your back gets tired, you’ll lean anyway.

      The adjustable desk (if it adjusts to promote both standing and sitting options) sounds like it would give you the best of both worlds – so you can alternate.

      I would choose whatever is in your budget. That, to me, is always the path of least resistance.

      The Pomodoro technique is an excellent reminder to take breaks. We can get carried away with our work, so even following this timer can remind us to stretch, walk around, etc. more often.

      It’s awesome that you walk for 30 mins and stretch in the morning. If you can find the time to also strengthen your core, that would only add additional benefits.

      Great to meet you, David. Let me know what you’ve decided to do – and how it’s worked for you.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  • at 9:51 am
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    HI Dana,

    Absolute truth my friend!!!! For years I have sat way too long. The good news is at this point (I’m 44) I’ve been fortunate but it some ways it is catching up to me.

    We just recently started back at the gym and I got a standing desk so that I work “on my feet” instead of on my butt, lol…

    It’s made a world of difference in a very short time.

    I feel better, my posture is better and I have more energy.

    And, I’m watching the “old man belly” retreat, which is the best part!!!!

    Dr. Mercola had an article last fall, I think, about the negative effects of sitting and said that on average we ought to be standing and moving around for at least 10 hours per day.

    I thought that was an interesting statistic.

    Have a great week Dana!

    ~ Don Purdum

    Reply
    • at 6:03 pm
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      Hi Don,

      I’ve had a few people mention the standing desk option, or at least, an adjustable one.
      I think it sounds like a cool idea. I’ve also known of people to do their work while on a treadmill. I would get a kick out of that.

      Yes, I’m familiar with Dr. Mercola. I may have even read the article you’re referring to.
      He’s a wealth of knowledge isn’t he? He covers all bases.

      I’m glad you’ve gotten back into your fitness program. I have no doubt you’re experiencing the benefits from having done so.

      The effects of sitting sure do catch up to us. Before we know it, what started out as a mild sense of discomfort turns into a painful reality. No one enjoys that.

      Great to see you here Don. Have a fantastic week 🙂

      Reply
  • at 8:56 am
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    Thank you for sharing this Dana, I loved the stretching exercises. As a blogger, I tend to sit for far longer than I should in order to get a post finished. I shall make a point to schedule in stretching and walking time.

    Reply
    • at 5:51 pm
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      Hi Sarah,

      Welcome to my blog!

      I’m thrilled you’ve found value in this post.
      I can relate. I’m a personal trainer and wellness coach – but I’m a blogger/writer too.

      The hours of sitting can wreak havoc – so I thought of all of you when I wrote this 🙂

      I think the stretching exercises would work wonders for you. They’re easy and pleasant. If you combine this with the Pomodoro technique, you’ll have that reminder, which as we know can be helpful when we’re caught up in our work.

      If you try it out, let me know how it worked for you.

      Glad you stopped by. Great to meet you.

      Reply
  • at 6:05 pm
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    Hey Dana,

    Thanks for this.

    Sitting is one of those things that, though comfortable, can really take a toll if done for extended periods of time. I definitely try to stretch and move around but that’s about it. Clearly, I need to involve a lot more activity to my day-to-day.

    One thing I want to invest in is a standing desk. Or at least an adjustable one where I can stand if I choose to.

    Thanks again for this and have a great, and active week.

    – Andrew

    Reply
    • at 8:50 pm
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      Hi Andrew,

      Welcome to my blog 🙂

      Sitting sure is comfortable isn’t it? But yes, too much of it creeps up. You don’t feel it right away, but eventually, the effects start to add up.

      I’ve heard of those adjustable desks. What a clever idea.
      I know there are companies (and people) who sometimes walk on a treadmill while they’re working.

      Small bits of exercise add up. It’s great that you stop and stretch. Strengthening the core is so helpful as well. Try the plank. It’s one of the best core exercises there is (and doesn’t take long).

      I appreciate your visit Andrew. Enjoy your week.

      Reply
  • at 3:32 pm
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    So… I’m guessing when you say to take a 5-minute break every 25 minutes or so, using those five minutes to smoke a cigarette doesn’t result in a net positive benefit to our health, does it?

    😉

    Seriously, Dana, this is a great topic.

    I spend far too much time sitting at my desk at home… I need a better chair. I need to exercise more and strengthen my core. I simply need to stretch more often, too. Lots of great advice packed in here… much of which I should probably start following very, very soon.

    Thanks for sharing your post with me!

    Reply
    • at 8:45 pm
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      Hey Brent,

      Welcome to my blog 🙂
      Ahhh, those 5-minute cig breaks. Well, I can’t exactly vouch for the heath benefits of that, but moving around is helpful…lol

      I know that following the tips in this post escapes most of us. Honestly, if I wasn’t in the health and fitness industry, I wouldn’t be mindful of this at all. In fact, I’d seldom take breaks.

      But I’ve experienced years worth of pain from my former career and it went away from changing my lifestyle. Now that I sit more often, it’s creeping up again. That’s the culprit – and since I know so many others who spend time in front of the computer experience this as well, I knew this info would help.

      Small bits will add up and prove to be very beneficial. If you try these out, let me know. If you need any guidance, just holler.

      Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

      Reply
  • at 10:56 am
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    Hi Dana,

    You sure are a wonderful coach because you got me up and stretching before I commented. I do need to be more mindful of this.

    I do have the Pomodoro and have used it in the past. Maybe it’s time to turn that on again lol. I’ve been sedentary this Winter and know I need to move my you know what.

    Back pain is a terrible thing to go through. I’ve seen my mom go through it because she was always sitting on her job and at home. She had to go to physical therapy a while back but now, she is doing Yoga and no more pain.

    I do get up from time to time and change positions often. I do need to prevent back pain because I know how it can be.

    Thanks for putting those wonderful videos here. I tried some he he he but the dogs started barking at me.

    -Donna

    Reply
    • at 8:34 pm
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      Hi Donna,

      You sure are a wonderful commenter because I got up to stretch before replying 😉
      I’m serious too. It was time.

      I like using the Pomodoro. I used it for the first time when I wrote my exercise safety book.

      Back pain is NO fun. It can be debilitating and interfere with every minute of the day. Standing and working as a hair stylist/ assistant for so many years started that whole thing. It was losing the weight, strengthening my core, leaving that career and being more active that saved me.

      However, since I write a lot now, I’m sitting more. It’s catching up with me and I don’t like it. It inspired the need to write this post and share this info with others.

      I’m glad your mom is doing better. Yoga can be a wonderful way to heal back pain.

      Enjoy your week Donna. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  • at 3:24 am
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    Hi Dana,

    What an awesome post! At work, I don’t sit for long periods, but when I’m at home, I really have to pay attention to the time. When I write, I tend to get lost in my writing, and I tend to forget to get up.

    Setting a timer could be something to consider for me, so I don’t forget to move around. It’s something I should work on. And it’s true that when I sit for too long, my back starts to hurt. Stretching is an excellent idea. I especially like your suggestion of doing yoga stretches. There are a few poses that look interesting!

    Thanks so much for sharing this! Hope you had a great Easter weekend! 🙂

    ~Nataly

    Reply
    • at 8:17 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Nataly,

      It’s great that you move around at work. It helps to combat some of the effects from the effects of sitting the rest of the time.

      I relate to what you said about your back hurting after prolonged periods of time. Mine does – and it inspired this post.

      I liked the stretches in that video too. They’re easy enough and it’s just over 5 minutes long. (Almost) perfect for a Pomodoro style break.

      Whenever I’ve used that technique, I’ve found it helpful. The reminders to take a break are so helpful from both a physical and time management/ focus oriented standpoint.

      Thanks for stopping by Nat. Enjoy your week 🙂

      Reply
  • at 12:19 am
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    Hi Dana,

    Wonderful post indeed 🙂

    Yes, I remember reading Bren’s and Nataly’s post on the similar topic, and I’ve also written about it on my blog, so this is surely an essential topic for bloggers and all those who work online. That’s because we lead a sedentary lifestyle as most of our work requires us to sit and work.

    Setting a timer is a good idea though I usually time myself in such a way that I get up every hour for a few minutes, and later to make the lunch, which requires me to stand much longer. Either ways, if you sit or stand too long, the back pains, unless you stretch yourself or do things in moderation, isn’t it? Lovely videos as well.

    Thanks for sharing. Hope you had a great Easter weekend as well 🙂

    Reply
    • at 8:12 pm
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      Hi Harleena,

      Thanks so much 🙂
      I must have missed your post on this topic – but I’ll stop by your blog and search for it. I’m sure you have some great info to share that I’ll learn something valuable from.

      It’s awesome that you’re disciplined enough to get up every hour. I’m sure it’s helped you a lot by preventing pain and stiffness. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we’re doing, sometimes those breaks are the last thing on our minds.

      I appreciate your visit Harleena, and wish you a great week ahead.

      Reply
  • at 2:46 pm
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    Hey Dana,

    This is a fantabulous article! I sit a lot for my job. From around 730 a – 4 pm. I have been working hard the past few months of breaking up my sitting period. I’ve noticed since I’m sitting longer with less up breaks, my hips has been hurting a bit. Setting a timer is an awesome idea. I love the timer on my cell phone because it’s always with me. I really like the Pomodoro Technique and love the video. I try every 20 minutes, but 25 is good. I’ve also been trying to implement this in my home office as well, although with having the furkids around, they are always getting me up and out of that chair.

    I appreciate you sharing these techniques with us. I know a lot of people that will be interested in reading this so you know, I’m passing it along.

    Thanks so much, Dana! You’re always an inspiration!

    Bren

    Reply
    • at 8:08 pm
      Permalink

      Hey Brenda,

      Yeah, I know you work in an industry that requires a lot of time sitting in front of the computer. I’m not surprised you’ve started feeling it in your hips. The hip flexors get tight over time from this and can lead to limited mobility in the hip joints. It can place pressure on the lower back and interfere with gait – so it’s cool that you’ve been mindful to start taking breaks.

      I have no doubt that your dogs have played a positive role in getting you up more often. That’s great.

      If you’re doing 20-minute intervals of work before getting up, then stick with what works. I like the Pomodoro technique, but as far as I’m concerned, you can get creative with this.

      I’m glad you liked the post Brenda. Have a great week Girly 🙂

      Reply

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