Is there a best way for people to sit at a computer?
With people spending so much time at a desk for their jobs/hobbies, you wonder how they are all sitting? Are they sitting the same way? Who has told them to sit this way? Is this causing them pain or putting them at risk for injuries in the future?
With such a high proportion of the population sitting it seems odd that this topic has a large seemingly grey area. This post is going to explain my position on this topic and explain the best sitting mantra which is you one tip to takeaway. I'll then talk about a sitting study and what people found worked best.
The Sitting Mantra
My opinion is, the “ideal posture” should be the position most commonly taken up by people sitting a lot throughout the day. But, it should not be held for a prolonged period.
In any position, including sitting, structures within the body are shortened and lengthened. Any position held for prolonged periods will cause stress on the body. When the body is stressed, strains, tight muscles, aches and pains are produced.
With this in mind, approach posture with a “motion is lotion” attitude.
The Sitting Study
Changing your body position throughout your sustained seated period will prevent your body structures from getting sick of being at one sustained length.
A study in 2015 employed three separate interventions to evaluate their effects on the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders amongst workers here spent most of their time seated (Habibi & Soury, 2015). The interventions were the following:
- Training intervention
- Software Intervention
- Sport Intervention
The objective of the training was to help workers understand office ergonomic principles, being able to self-evaluate work-place conditions and arrange and organize their workspace. The software was installed at regular intervals to remind the employees to exercise and the main objective of the sport intervention was to strengthen the muscles around the spine
After the study, the authors stated that “the research provided evidence that ergonomic intervention should result in knowledge, body posture improvement, a better workplace, and a decrease of musculoskeletal disorders”
It was also reported that the “Education intervention was effective in reducing pain in the lower back, neck, knee, wrist, and back, except shoulder. Also, software intervention was effective in reducing LBP and neck pain. The exercise intervention was effective in reducing pain in the lower back, wrist, and back.”
Each intervention has its limitations, but alas they all provided benefit to the participants. This study had a focus on office workers, but these interventions are very generalizable.
Two of the interventions link nicely into a catchphrase used earlier in the article, “motion is lotion”
A population that spends a lot of time seated is the Esports community. Whether they are professional or amateur, gamers spend a lot of time sitting down participating in what they love. I think it’s a great passion, there is certainly becoming a large scope for careers in the industry. It would awesome to help gamers participate safely. Minor interventions could have a massive effect on the longevity for the gamers and the enjoyment they get out of their hobby.
The Take-Away Tip
Preparing the body for the demanding task of sitting for hours on end, completing very deft and precise movements, is so crucial as the task is mentally and physically draining.
This opinion article has focussed on showing everyone, including the Esports community, that small ergonomics changes can make a difference.
The easiest tip to implement right from the get-go is to move.
Getting up and moving in loading times or between games is a great first step. It’s not hard. It’s not difficult. If gamers try to keep these moving periods at regular intervals it will give their bodies a minute’s relief from a fixed resting length.
More evidence-based articles will follow this one so parents, athletes and enthusiasts alike can stay informed on how to safely enjoy Esports!
The focus of these articles will be to let readers go away with easy to follow and easy to implement steps that they can spread the word about!
Please, if you have any comments or questions – fire away! Would love to hear more ideas about the ideal posture and what you all think that is!
Habibi, E., & Soury, S. (2015). The effect of three ergonomics interventions on body posture and musculoskeletal disorders among stuff of Isfahan Province Gas Company. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 4. https://doi.org/10.4103/2277-9531.162386