Sitting for a Long Time is the Worst Thing You Can Possibly Do to Your Back

Don't sit at desk all day!

Take a few simple steps to make your workday healthier.

We all know we shouldn’t sit in one place all day—our bodies are built to move—but we still spend most of our day sitting, either at work or in front of the computer or TV at home, and usually in positions that aggravate back injury, circulatory problems, and nerve damage. Whether you’re at work or at home, you can use these tips to keep your back healthy and strong without overhauling your lifestyle.

1. Take short walks throughout the day

This is one of those basic “nice ideas” that you’ve probably heard about, but haven’t bothered to try. What most people don’t realize is how much good a walk can do, even if it’s just a few minutes. Sitting for too long, especially if you’ve got scoliosis or bad posture, forces your back muscles to bear your body’s weight unevenly, which can cause inflammation or even unhealthy muscle development over time. If you get up, stand tall, and take a short walk, you break the unhealthy pattern and return your back muscles to a normal, healthy configuration.

2. Maintain good muscle tone

Muscle tone is a constant, low level of muscular flexion that keeps your muscles ready at all times. Working out regularly, even at low levels, trains your body to maintain good muscle tone, which can make prolonged sitting at work less harmful to your back. If your back muscles have decent tone, they can support your spine more easily, reducing the temptation to slouch; and since you’ve already set a healthy pattern, sitting will be less disruptive.

3. Give yourself a place to take breaks

If at all possible in your work environment (whether you work from home or in an office), you should set aside a place for short breaks. If you have room in your office, buy an ergo-friendly chair to set in the corner so that when you start to feel the beginnings of tightness or spasm in your lower back, you can rest your back in a healthy way.

4. Don’t eat at your desk

As a general rule, you should take any excuse to get up from your desk. Whether you’re snacking from the vending machine or having lunch, take the chance to move around and change your scenery. Your keyboard is one of the most unsanitary things you come in contact with, so that’s reason enough not to eat while you work; but if you’re worried about back trouble, you miss an opportunity to straighten up and alleviate the pain. Work will keep for twenty minutes; get up, move around, and have a proper lunch.

5. Try sitting at 135 degrees instead of 90

A recent study suggests that sitting at a 135-degree angle (leaning back) may be healthier than sitting upright. If you’re anything like me, your attempts to sit up straight last for few minutes, before you’re squirming and slouching to try to get comfortable; which may be a clue that you’re not built to sit that way. If you have an adjustable keyboard tray, this will be easier; you need to be able to type naturally while leaned back, or you run the risk of carpal tunnel. This strategy doesn’t work for everyone; if you find that leaning back causes you to strain your neck or get headaches, or if it aggravates any other condition, you should switch back to sitting at 90 degrees and get a good lumbar support.

About The Author

Gina M. Casillo is a staff writer for Serenity Living Stores, your choice place to buy a Barcelona chair. She enjoys decorating the bedrooms for her active twin boys and writing about home décor – especially when it comes to the spaces she’s most intimate with.


  1. Satu says:

    The tip #5 was new for me. I guess I tend to gravitate for that position naturally, but the problem is that then I’m inclined to jut my neck forward and the result is headaches! Not funny.

    I usually take frequent breaks, but sometims I sit hours in front of my computer as when I do graphics or try to resolve some computer-related problem.

  2. Good stuff! I really need to get up from the desk more often. I normally would go out in the living room to write or whatever but with the invalid kitty, he’s stuck in the crate in the office so I don’t leave much during the day except to workout.

    I have plans to start sitting on the exercise ball again instead of the chair. I wouldn’t mind going out for a daily walk but I don’t like walking alone (see that is why we should also have a dog lol).

  3. Joygirl says:

    I dare to say I’m guilty. I’ll learn to sit up right and walk around more often. Nice write-up. Thumbs up!

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