This is a collaborative post
It is safe to say that in my time alive on this planet, I have sat down a lot. It is of course not because I am lazy, but because actually, there is a lot of sitting down to be done.
When I was at university, I was regularly in 3 hour lectures. Then when I went into full time work it pretty much involved 8 hours sat at a desk plus the time spent commuting. And then in the evenings, I sat watching the tv whilst eating dinner!
Even as a mum, there is a lot of sitting involved. Stuck sat under a sleeping baby, sat whilst breastfeeding, and sat on the floor whilst playing with the boys. Then there were the times after I had given birth when I couldn't move very much. Some people are up straight away but with one csection and one episiotomy, I was sat recovering for quite a while – so much so after the second birth that my legs almost forgot how to work and went extremely weak until I was properly up and about again.
I think though, that the time when I noticed that all of the sitting wasn't exactly great for me was when I was at work during my pregnancies. In both pregnancies I suffered with SPD and whilst I had it nowhere near as bad as others, it was always extra bad when I was sat at my desk. I remember getting up from my chair and getting stuck half way and having to wiggle the pain out before I could walk to the loo. I also remember one day when it was really bad and after a morning of sitting down, I ended up limping for the rest of the day – every step was agony and I was almost in tears. I found that if I kept on getting up and just stretching or taking a few steps to the kitchen or someone else's desk, it kept it more under control.
Even though I know it's bad for me, I am often found with my legs crossed because for some reason, that is the most comfortable position. I have done many a health and safety training over how to sit correctly at a desk and yet, I never quite abided to it!
According to the NHS website, when sitting at a desk your knees should be slightly lower than your hips and your feet should be flat on the floor. You should also have your keyboard positioned so that your wrists and forearms are straight and level with the floor and your elbows should be by the side of your body so that the arm forms an L-shape at the elbow joint. Your screen should be at eye level and your mouse kept as close as possible. This is the best way to keep your back from getting any aches and pains. One of my colleagues was a terror for working from her laptop at her desk which meant she was constantly hunched over. How she found it comfortable I do not know.
Of course, it is not just sitting down that can be the problem – a bad or old mattress can do just as much harm to your back and posture. When I think of the beds I have slept in over the years, particularly the ones that came with any of the accommodation that I rented (and in particular, the university bed!), they were never massively comfortable and sometimes you could feel them doing damage. A good adjustable bed mattress is key for not only a good night sleep but for a healthy back as well.
At the moment, we spend most of our nights with Oscar in our bed and quite often, I am completely squidged in between him and the other half. It is amazing how much space one starfishing seven month old takes up and I always have to readjust myself in the morning and just stretch out to get my body back to the shape it started! It's not ideal, but for me, some sleep is better than no sleep and quite often, it is simply because I have fallen asleep feeding him.
At 34 years of age though, I really ought to start looking after my body more. I shouldn't be squidged up in an awkward position when I am sleeping. I should not be sitting how I am sitting right now writing this post, with the laptop on my lap whilst I am sitting on the edge of the sofa, and if I sit at a desk, I should definitely be paying attention to where all of my equipment is to make a more comfortable working space. I know a few people who suffer from back problems and it really is one of the things we should take care of.
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