I had an appointment on Monday, and as I walked through the office I noticed an empty desk with an[amazon_link id=”B000VDTEDA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] exercise ball[/amazon_link] where the desk chair should be.  It would seem someone has been reading up on the negative effects sitting can have on a person’s body.  Some folks argue that sitting on an unstable surface will minimize the reported negative effects of sitting at a desk all day.

When I passed back by the empty office on my way out, I saw someone sitting on the ball.

Like this:

(Please note that this is me.  Not her.  Also note that this was at the end of a long day and given that I was wearing neither makeup nor a bra, I opted for a side shot.  Oh, and I hadn’t showered in a day.  Or two.  Seriously, I just had to get this post out there and it couldn’t wait for hygiene.)

See my scrunched up shoulders?  (Hers were actually more rounded than that.)  Most importantly, see what I am actually sitting on?  I’m rocked back on my tailbone and – let’s be honest – it ain’t pretty.

Not only is this not too pretty, it’s not healthy, either.  Tucking my pelvis under to sit shortens the length between my sacrum and my pubic symphysis.  This position can, over time, weaken my pelvic floor.

And what does a weak pelvic floor mean?  Tinkling when you sneeze, a compromised core, and eventually a possible organ prolapse.

This stuff matters.

When you sit, you should sit on your ischial tuberosities.  (They’re also known as the sitz bones.  Or the “sitting bones.”  For good reason.

My favorite biomechanist Katy Bowman has a great (short!) YouTube video showing the difference between sitting in a pelvic tuck on your sacrum and sitting the way your body was designed to sit.

Here I am, sitting the way my body is supposed to sit:

DSC02647

I mean, I don’t have to convince you that that looks better, right?  (Also, like how I was faux typing in this pic?)

If you have five minutes, give one other video from Katy a look.  It’s called “Pelvic Floor Demystified” and in it, she shows you why excessive Kegels won’t cut it for long term pelvic floor health.

You’ll also see why sitting on your sacrum can be so damaging.

Remember – sitting on a dynamic surface won’t do you a lick of good if you’re in a position that improperly distributes your load.  So, rock that pelvis into the position and sit on those sitz bones.

Or, even better, STAND UP!

 

 

4 Responses to “Sitting On Your Bones the Wrong Way”

  1. on 31 Jan 2013 at 10:15 amK

    Love this! I’ve been sitting on a ball like this at work for about 6 months now. Since I sit all day long I can tell a difference. I sit with better posture. Due to the way my desk is I can’t lean over the bad way. My keyboard/mouse is on a tray that pulls out from underneath my desk so ergonomically my arms are at a 90 degree angle when I type and my legs are at 90 degrees as I sit on the ball. If I even try and sit the wrong way I become unbalanced on the ball. I seem to be constantly moving on the ball. My legs/feet are less swollen at the end of the day. And I love bending over backwards and stretching over the ball like a backbend. Completely rejuvenates me.

  2. on 31 Jan 2013 at 10:23 amKristine Rudolph

    I should have popped over and snapped a pic of YOU then! 😉

    Don’t be surprised to find me over there for a surprise “alignment check”!

  3. on 31 Jan 2013 at 10:34 amJenny Williams

    This is so helpful and a great reminder. Since I am at a desk on average for at least 8 hours a day I really need to be reminded of the proper way to sit and even better trying to stand during conference calls as much as possible. Thank you!

  4. […] I wrote a blog piece on that already, so I won’t belabor the point.  But be mindful to untuck your pelvis as you sit.  Katy Bowman of Aligned and Well recently asked on Facebook, if the object on which you were sitting were to disappear at this moment, would you still be sitting or would you collapse?  If the latter, then you need to adjust. […]

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