Why I sit on a giant ball….
You may have noticed I seem to have an aversion to sitting on chairs and wearing shoes (more about the shoes later), and I’ve been meaning to write a blog to explain that (it’s just taken a long time for me to get around to writing it). Below are some of the reasons I don’t like chairs much…and would rather take to a giant ball .
My spine is happier
When we sit there’s about a 90degree angle at our hips and our knees; this instantly rotates the pelvis backwards which results in a curved back, and a lot of stretch through the back muscles, the ligaments and joint capsules. When the spine is in its neutral position (an S shape from neck to sacrum) the lumbar spine (low back) is in an arched position – this position means that the muscles don’t have to work hard to keep you upright and the ligaments are supporting you. When you introduce a curve the opposite way for a prolonged duration your ligaments and the joint capsules are put on stretch; then your back muscles have to work harder to support you. Pain and aching are the ligaments complaining because they’re being stretched, and the muscles complaining because they’re having to work harder.
Pain = weakness. When an area is in pain, the muscles don’t work as well.
I can still slouch on a ball but it’s not quite as easy to do as a chair.
A giant ball is more fun
Enough said. 🙂
Especially when you’re about to fall off.
I breathe better
The posture I described earlier also has implications for your breathing. If you’re hunched over then where is the air going to go? If the air has nowhere to go then you don’t expand your lungs as much: less air = less oxygen. No wonder we get tired and can’t think straight when we’ve been sitting for a while; we’re running on less oxygen.
Plus…the diaphragm (the muscle that keeps us breathing) attaches to you lumbar spine so there’s a direct link between your breathing and your back.
I can digest my lunch better
That muscle that keeps you breathing (the diaphragm) has our stomach, liver and intestines attached to it, so as you breathe your organs get a massage. When you’re sat you’re not breathing properly so you’re not digesting properly either. That massaging of the organs when we breathe is what helps provide the blood flow to help us digest, assimilate and eliminate our food. While we’re on the subject of elimination, that seated posture is about the worst one for easy evacuation of our bowels; it gives us a kink which makes the escape route harder.
I’d actually much rather be sitting on the floor but the ball is a compromise.
Don’t use it, you lose it
When you sit on a chair you don’t use the full range of motion of your hip, knee and ankle joints. If you don’t use it you lose it. You lose the flexibility in those joints and the suppleness in the muscles surrounding them. The lack of movement in that range means less lubrication for the joints so less nutrition which in the long term means they’re not as supple or healthy.
We weren’t designed to sit still
I’m lucky with my job in that I don’t have to stay still too long; I can do my paperwork sitting on the floor, on the Swiss ball, or standing, but I’m not confined to one position.
Positives for chairs
They’re really handy for:
- stretching your hamstrings on;
- hanging your washing over when the drying rack is full;
- standing on to change the light bulb.
Hands On Osteopathy
144 Third Avenue,
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