Sit up straight! Your health may depend on it

Sit up straight! Your health may depend on it »Play Video

Watch #LiveOnKMTR at 5:30 and 11 p.m. Thursday, April 24, for more on this story

EUGENE, Ore. - You wake up, drive to work and sit a desk all day.

Then you drive home and plop yourself on the couch all night.

If that sounds like you, your health may be at risk.

"A higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, being obese," said Debbie Proctor, a cardiac rehab clinical exercise physiologist.

"You get neck pain, you can get disc injuries, it contributes a lot to headaches, headaches are a big one that we see," said Travis Davis, chiropractor. "And then it also causes an imbalance in the muscles, so it contributes to continuing head posture."

"It can really increase the cardiovascular risk, it can really make the blood sugars go up at night," Deb Riddell, a registered polysomic technician, "and actually completely slow their metabolism."

These side effects can be pretty daunting, but they're not from some scary carcinogen or some unknown substance.

They can be caused by something you see every day: your office chair.

"When you sit a lot and you work on a computer a lot," Davis said, "it ends up pulling your shoulders forward. And what we want to see is you're erect, shoulders back, and head back."

How to sit

When sitting, you want your knees to be at a 90 degree angle. If you sit with your feet under you, you are putting pressure on your knees.

When sitting, you want your feet to be in the same position. Having one leg forward and one leg back makes your hips uneven, which puts pressure on your spine.
 
You want your computer to be at eye level. Having it above or below will throw off the alignment in your neck, causing neck problems.

You want your knees to be about an inch away from the edge of your chair, roughly three finger lengths.

You want your keyboard to be at a height that lets your elbows stay at a 90 degree angle.

Driving can also be a pain. When behind the wheel, you want your feet to be at the same distance forward or back.

Every so often while driving, push your head against your headrest. This will have the same sort of effect as Brugger’s Relief Position, explained in the story.

The best way to sit is to have your tailbone back against your seat, and allow for a natural curve in your back. Sometimes, having something against your back helps, like a small circular pillow about the size of the water bottle.