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Sitting and your rounded back – what does this mean to your health?

Sitting and your rounded back – what does this mean to your health?

Sitting with a rounded back is a reality for so many of us. Worryingly, it is also this bad posture that negatively affects the health of millions of people each year. Let’s explore what causes us to sit with a rounded back, how it affects our health and how we can fix it with a few simple tips.

Despite our best efforts, sitting is unavoidable. Whether it is driving, working, eating or watching TV, it is a position that many of us find ourselves in for hours during the day. In fact, the average Australian spends around 10 hours a day sitting! Why? Because sitting conserves energy by slowing our metabolism and reducing the strain on both our legs and lower back. In other words, it feels ‘comfortable’. The issue with this is that when we sit for long periods of time our body weakens, causing certain muscles to become stretched and weak while others become shortened and tight. These muscular imbalances all combine to create that typical rounded back posture we all know.

When we are not sitting straight and engaging our core muscle, our rounded back can negatively affect our health in a variety of ways:

  • Cardiovascular: Sitting with a rounded back slows down metabolism, which will affect our ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and metabolize fat. This increases the risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease.
  • Respiratory: When we sit correctly, there is less pressure on our diaphragm which makes it easier to take deeper breathes.
  • Mental Health: Sitting with a rounded back can make us feel and appear less confident and lower our self-esteem which can impact our mental health.
    Fatigue Levels: Strengthening and maintaining ourselves in a good posture reduces muscular imbalances within our body, allowing for better muscular efficiency and less fatigue.
  • Bone, Joint and Muscle Health: Sitting in a good posture aligns our bones, joints and muscles which which puts less stress on them. This helps to reduce pain and prevent injuries.

The longer we sit with a rounded back, the harder it is to correct. But there are many routines and changes that we can adopt to achieve all the health benefits of a good posture:

  • Take breaks from sitting to stand and move around.
  • Adjust your chair and desk set-up (such as an adjustable desk)
  • Strengthen weak postural muscles and stretch tight muscles with the following exercises:

At Sports and Spinal Group, we incorporate a variety of manual therapy techniques, ergonomic advice and strengthening exercises to help improve your sitting posture. If you experience any of these health issues due to prolonged sitting, book in with one of our Osteopaths.

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