In the last blog post I referenced the shortened psoas muscle as the cause of instability and degeneration in our low backs. Excessive sitting (ie. driving, deskwork, studying, gaming, texting, or anything else that has us parked in a chair) causes shortening of the psoas. To combat this I encourage anyone who sits for a living to find a way to stand for half of their workday. There are many options, relative to size and cost, available to the office worker.
By standing for part of our workday this would allow the psoas to lengthen to a natural position. This would allow for better posture, and normal alignment of the pelvis and lumbar vertebrae. Therefore less degeneration would occur because of constantly sitting in the same position.
There are other benefits to standing other than postural. Even the American Cancer Society recognizes that prolonged sitting is a public health risk that has the potential to shorten lives. Improper position of the neck is also corrected by standing, which reduces the potential for headaches. Another plus to a standing workstation is increased calorie expenditure. Conservative estimates say we burn 50 more calories per hour. So if we stood for just half of our work day, that is 200 calories per day, 1000 per week, 4000 per month. There are 3500 calories in one pound of body fat, that works out to 14 pounds a year from standing for a half of everyday.
There are many options for standing work stations, one should progress carefully into the upright position. Alternating between standing and sitting would allow one to adapt gradually. This requires a desk that is fitted to the employees upright and seated positions. There are many compaies that have this automated to switch between the two positions. Since lower back pain is the number one reason people see a doctor, it is my belief that we should address our posture through our workday in order to address the causes of this complaint.