Monday, November 27, 2006

Slouch not

But neither should you sit at the computer in a bolt upright postion. Scientists have confirmed that book-on-head perfect posture is as hard on the backbone as schlumping in our chairs like vultures feeding on prey.

The Scottish radiologists used MRI imaging to watch the effects of various seated postures on the back dynamics of young adult volunteers. The first scans were done while the subjects were lying on their backs, a position which stresses the discs between vertebrae not at all. Subsequently, the group was positioned for follow-up imaging while sitting upright in a "90% position" with the spine at a right angle to the thighs, again while slouching forward as if hunkered over a keyboard, and finally while reclining slightly with knees below the level of the hips "much the way a Formula One race car driver sits in the cockpit of the car."

Turns out that race car drivers have the formula one should use while seated through the workday. When the angle of the trunk to the thighs is 135 degrees, the MRI's demonstrated the least amount of squash to the intervertebral disc and the central nucleus pulposus (the part of the disc that gooshes out with ruptures) remained well-centered.

For those of us who do not work out of racing cockpits, the doctors recommended sitting on a well-inflated exercise ball high enough to allow our knees to drop below the level of our hips. Try scooting forward in your chair right now so your knees drop down and your feet hook back behind the front legs of your chair. My lower back feels better already!

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