Sitting Is a Pain in the Butt 

by Kathleen Gramzay, BCTMB

Have you heard the idiom “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”? Well, instead of walking in someone else’s shoes, I have been sitting in someone else’s office chair. All I can say is, given the option, hand me those shoes!

I’ll admit I’ve been spoiled. For the last 17 years as a self-developed, movement-based therapist and educator teaching Kinessage® to therapists, my days were all about movement. My passion to share the method with the rest of the world led me to write a book, develop the virtual Kinessage® Release Your Pain Self Care System, and to create a website to get the word out. Here’s the irony. This all required I spend the majority of the last 12 months with my butt in a chair. What I already felt passionately about has been pointedly corroborated by my body. The positions you regularly hold are cumulative, and movement throughout the day is critical.

Here are a few things to watch for that can cause pain you might not be aware of, as well as some tips to build movement into your day:

1. What is your regular posture when you are engrossed in what you are working on? Is your head lurched forward toward the screen or to the side trying to hold your phone? Is your jaw clenched, your mouse hand, reaching away, pulling on your neck? Is one leg wrapped around the other like a pretzel? Is one foot crammed underneath the other? If you have frequent pain in any specific area — head, neck, shoulder, arms, wrist, hand, back, hips, knees, ankles or feet — look at how you sit at your desk or the position your body is in the majority of your day. Once you know what it is, put a sticky right in front of you that reminds you to undo that — “uncross your legs,” “pull your head back,” “sit up straight” or whatever you need until you break the habit.

2. As for movement, the key word is “frequent.” If you get sucked into your screen and then, the next thing you know, it’s time to go to lunch or home, that is not frequent. New recommendations are that you should move after every 20 minutes of sitting. If that’s not feasible, set your phone alarm to 45 minutes. You can focus and concentrate for 45 minutes on the specific task at hand (which will increase your productivity during the time), then get up, stretch and move. Walk or do other specific movements that help your body release the tension and reset itself. You’ll sit back down with a more energized body and more focused and relaxed mind. Besides that, your butt will thank you for the break, too.

Kathleen Gramzay
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