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Prolonged Sitting: Danger to Your Posture – and Your Whole Health!

Nowadays, sitting all day, every day is becoming more and more of a reality. We’re sitting for far too long, and far too often – and it’s wreaking havoc on our whole health! 

Just think of all the occasions that you’re also likely slouching, hunching and craning your neck during the day: while driving, at your desk, in front of a computer – all usually done while sitting.  

So, is it any wonder that your neck, back, hips & knees (and head!) are left aching and sore by the end of the day? And it’s not just about the position of your neck that’s the issue with sitting, and often staring at a screen for so long – it’s the full-body chain of events that gets kicked off.

Sitting, Poor Posture & Physical Health

Good posture, also known as neutral spine, means that the muscles surrounding the spine are able to support the body more equally.  

By having better posture while sitting and standing, you’ll reduce the incidences of the following health issues, often associated with or as a result of poor posture & prolonged sitting [1][2]: 

  • Poor sleep quality & daytime fatigue
  • Low back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Headaches
  • Neck & shoulder tension
  • Pelvic pain
  • Poor circulation
  • Sluggish digestion
  • Poor workout form

As you probably already know, posture is very important to balance, and it allows us to centre our weight directly over our feet. When the body is in correct alignment, this offers good form for workouts, with less incidence of injury and this, in turn, increases athletic and performance gains. Win! [3]

Poor Posture & Mental Health?

Mood in the dumps, slouched posture? Or is it the other way around? Maybe it’s a bit of both! 

It has been documented that people with depression often slouch, as if their drooping body is a mirror of their mood + mind slump. So what happens if they simply sit up or stand up straighter, head held higher?  

Apparently, they may feel more upbeat and less fatigued! 

Research indicates that slouching can negatively impact a person’s mental health, and conversely, it was also demonstrated that good posture can build confidence, improve energy, and alleviate depression. [3][4] 

What is good sitting posture?

If you must sit, do it better! Here’s how… 

  • When sitting, your feet should be flat on the floor, with weight distributed through both hips.
  • Your back should be quite straight – but you’ll have natural lumbar, thoracic and cervical curves obviously
  • Shoulders should be back but down/relaxed
  • Ears should line up over your collarbones, i.e. chin slightly retracted. [3][5]

We also found a great resource for easy exercises to improve your posture, balance and alignment. These will allow you to reap the health benefits of maintaining neutral spine, and could even reverse the adverse effects you’ve accumulated from prolonged sitting.  

Posture exercise resource HERE.  

Be sure to try all 12 of them — and you’ll want to use our DIY Tension Tamer essential oil blend while you’re crushing those self-care goals! 

RECIPE 

DIY Tension Tamer EO Blend

(for tight neck & shoulder muscles + headache & migraine relief) 

Ingredients 

Blend the following pure essential oils with a *carrier oil of choice, diluted by ~5% total volume of EO’s:

4 parts Lemon or Peppermint for a different aromatic experience and cooling sensation

2 parts Lavender

2 parts Geranium or Bergamot

2 parts Roman Chamomile

2 parts Frankincense 

*Sweet almond works well, but you can also use grapeseed or olive oil that you may already have in your kitchen cupboard! 

Uses 

Apply to the temples while gently massaging them, being careful not to get peppermint EO, if using, too close to the eyes or other mucous membranes!  

Tension Tamer Blend can also be used on the following areas:  

  • Forehead
  • Back of the neck (at the hairline)
  • Bottom of your feet
  • Webbing of your hands or feet
  • Shoulders and upper back
  • Behind the ears
  • Sinus areas
  • Apply to both wrists
  • Neck pulse points

Apply every 15-30 minutes as needed for up to 2 hours until symptoms subside.  

Better yet, carry it in a roll-on bottle and take it everywhere with you! 

REFERENCES

[1] Healthline (Sept 2018) – These 12 Exercises Will Help You Reap The Benefits of Good Posture

[2] Bustle.com (April 2018) – 9 Ways Posture Affects Your Health That Might Surprise You

[3] Emma Simpson, Structural Integration Specialist (April 2019) – What Does Posture Have To Do With My Mental Health?

[4] Psychology Today (January 2017) – Good Posture May Ease Symptoms of Depression

[5] Harvard Health – Why Good Posture Matters