When I started working at the gym, I could tell almost immediately that it would profoundly affect my life. I was free—of the desk chair, that is. I no longer had to spend countless hours in front of a computer. Translation: Countless hours in a chair that was neither comfortable nor ergonomically correct. They take a toll on you, those desk chairs. And if you've ever had to sit in one, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Don't get me wrong, I still sit in a desk chair on occasion, but not for nearly as long as I used to.
We have a desktop computer, so I deliver your Daily Dose of Fit from a little tiny desk in our spare room. A room that contains a comic book collection, a life-size cutout of Michael Keaton as Batman, random pieces of exercise equipment and on occasion, a drying rack full of clothes. Consequently, there is also desk chair in this hodgepodge of a room. It's actually Jason's chair from his college days, and it squeaks and groans every time we sit on it. This chair is certainly not the most comfortable, but it can't be replaced. He's had it forever. I pick and choose my battles. (For example, I won the let's-pick-a-new-desktop-image battle as evidenced by all the pink. Valentine's Day is coming up, time to get in the spirit of things!) I switch out said chair for the exercise ball on occasion to give my posture a break—it's so easy to sink into an uncomfortable chair. And it's so bad for you.
We hunch, we tuck legs, we lean to the side. All of which, if you find yourself sitting at a desk every day, can take a huge toll on your body. Particularly your muscles. So get involved with your chair, check out your body in relationship to all of your chair's parts and pieces. Make sure you've got yourself set up for postural success. Some tips:
1) Adjust the lumbar support if you've got it. Make sure it fills the curve of your lower back. And if
you don't have any lumbar support, consider purchasing a small pillow that might create it.
2) Scoot your chair forward so that you don't have to hunch toward your keyboard.
3) Keep your feet flat on the floor. If you've got shorter legs, don't hesitate to put a big fat book
underneath your feet. (Do you really use your phonebook anymore?) And ladies, try not to cross
those legs all day.
4) Pull your shoulders back. Keep your eyes in line with your screen. Sit tall. 'Nuff said.
To perfect your posture in a chair is to prevent your upper body muscles, particularly your shoulder muscles, from stretching out unnaturally. It can also help prevent your chest muscles from tightening up uncomfortably. And as for your core muscles, sitting tall forces you to use them in support of your lower back. Say goodbye to back pain! Nice knowin' ya.
Remember this: you can't always choose your chair, but you can choose the way you sit in it. And I know one thing, if I could choose my chair, I'd choose the Gymygym. It's the "world's first ergonomic exercise chair." Not only does it force you to sit properly, it brings the gym to your office. Sweet score! Take a look:
You can even work your legs:
Pretty cool, right? Well...except for the price tag. It's a hefty $599, but I guess if you figure the cost of a home gym, it doesn't seem that bad. Got a corporate card? Chuckle...
Question: What's your desk like? Do you sit comfortably in your chair?
REMINDER! Don't forget to enter my PRO OATS giveaway! You just might be one of four to win a free bag of PRO OATS. (Contest ends at midnight EST on Friday, January 28, 2011).