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Hold your spine in high esteem: 7 tips for a sedentary lifestyle

Long periods of sitting at lectures, at the computer, or when reading are certainly not going to make you healthy. What can you do about it?

It may sound familiar. In the morning, you wake up and rush to school. Exhausted, you collapse into a chair in the classroom and only get up eight hours later. The exam period is no different, as you work your way through dozens of papers, textbooks, and tomes. The rare moments when you actually use your legs during the day can be counted on one hand.

A little voice in your head tells you that such a sedentary lifestyle is not the healthiest for your body – and it is right. Lack of exercise can result in serious health conditions. How can you find relief from the incessant sitting? Kristýna Baštářová, a fitness coach, recently talked about “a sitter’s ten commandments” at one of the lectures organised by the JIC StartupClub. We have summed it up for you in seven points.

1. Relax: unwinding and letting your body rest is more important than you might think. “A lot of people slave away at work or school the whole day and then sit at their computers when they finally get home. Everyone should stop at least for five minutes, sit down, and just do nothing,” says Baštářová.

2. Think about ergonomics: focus on how to adjust the place where you sit with your computer or books to achieve maximum accommodation and minimum damage to your body.

3. Hold your spine in high esteem: don’t sit twisted like a pretzel. Always keep in mind how your spine must feel when you sit like that. “We only get one spine, so it should last as long as possible,” warns Baštářová. “Otherwise things can go south very quickly. You can see that in some of the today’s twenty-somethings, who can’t even turn a somersault and have to undergo herniated disc surgery, all due to endless hours at the computer.”

4. Do some exercise and be active every day: according to Baštářová, you should be physically active for at least 90 minutes every day. The best way is to start in the morning, perhaps with a short warm-up. “You get your body going, so it will have enough energy during the day,” says the fitness coach.

5. Focus on your weaknesses: if your back hurts, include appropriate exercises in your daily routine. And do not give up if you don’t do very well at first.

6. Don’t sit for long periods of time: try to keep in mind that long-term sitting is not good for your body. If you spend your day sitting, get up from your chair regularly and stroll around or stretch and do some exercise. Baštářová recommends using special programs or apps that will remind you that it is time to stretch a bit. Being active also helps you think. “When you exercise, your brain gets more oxygen and it’s easier for you to work. It’s like taking a refreshment,” adds Baštářová.

7. Learn to be aware of your body: listen to it and respond to its needs when something hurts. Don’t ignore pain and be mindful of your body’s signals. Are you tired? Take a break, at least for a couple of minutes.