You may know some things about core stability, especially as it pertains to exercise and lifting heavy. But you may not realize how important core stability is as it relates to posture and prolonged sitting at work. The strength and stability of your core has the ability to safeguard you from the aches and pains associated with a sedentary desk job.
Evidence based guidelines state that decreased strength is one of the clinical findings associated with acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain. And a review of all of the literature states that there is strong evidence in the use of specific trunk strengthening and endurance exercises, combined with overall physical activity, as an intervention to improve low back pain.¹
There is no denying the fact that most people spend more waking hours working than they do engaging in other fun, relaxing, and leisure activities. So why not include more core stability activities into our long work days?!
First, let’s talk more about our core and what muscles are involved.
What makes up our core stability?
Core stability is the ability of our low back and abdominal muscles to work together to keep a happy, healthy, neutral posture for prolonged periods of time.
Several muscle groups help to add to core stability. Therefore, to improve core stability, we need to work on not only retraining our postural habits, but also on improving the strength and endurance of our low back and abdominal muscles.
The muscles of your core include:
- Transverse Abdominis
- Lumbar Multifidus
- Erector Spinae
- Rectus Abdominis
- Internal / External Obliques
Together, these muscles provide stability to our low back, protecting it against faulty movement patterns and from sitting for hours on end. Think of these muscles working together the way a corset or weight lifting belt works.
One can train and improve core stability throughout different forms of exercise. Some common exercises to improve your stability are through different plank variations, the dead bug exercise, leg raises, and by different forms of sit-ups or abdominal crunches.
While all of these exercises are great, they may not be ones that we can regularly perform throughout the work day. Since we spend so much time at work, it would be best if we find a more feasible way to work on improving core stability in the workplace.
How can we add core stability into the workplace?
If exercising at work is out of the question, one of the simplest ways to increase core stability while sitting at work is through improving our sitting posture.
As we sit, the muscles listed above, our postural muscles, succumb to the effects of gravity. They become less active and we begin to rely on support from our ligaments and joints in our spine to maintain stability. Unfortunately, our ligaments and joints were not made for this prolonged load. It is the job of our postural, core muscles to help absorb this load and handle the stress.
Strengthening these muscles is not enough to correct the problem. We must improve our posture in order to maintain prolonged core stability and proper posture to avoid low back pain and other aches and potential injuries.²
To improve our sitting posture, we should have a chair that allows us to maintain our natural lordotic curve. We don’t want to be slouched forwards, rounding our low back.
Overtime, this prolonged stretch to the low back muscles will cause them to weaken, increasing our reliance on passive structures, your ligaments and joints, to support us.
Besides having the ability to maintain a natural, lordotic curve, we can also improve our core stability, improve our posture, and decrease our risk of developing low back pain by choosing an active sitting chair.
What is an active sitting chair?
An active sitting chair allows you to do exactly what the name implies. Active-Sitting.
Despite sitting for 8 hours a day at work, an active sitting chair will allow you to stay more active during those long work days.
As you sit in an active sitting chair, such as the Symbiotic Chair, you will constantly be using your postural core muscles to move around, stay balanced, and to keep your healthy, natural posture.
Using this chair will not only improve your posture and use of your core muscles, but it will also strengthen and improve the endurance of these muscles.
The Symbiotic Chair was designed with the human body in mind, allowing for frequent movement and changes of your sitting position. In allowing the body to make these constant changes, you will also be strengthening your core stability muscles.
This active sitting chair works through the use of a flexible seat that is mounted on a balancing mechanism. The Symbiotic Chair will not allow you to just sit passively. Instead, it stimulates the musculature responsible for keeping your body upright and stable.
Additionally, the unique sculpted backrest with pronounced lower back support follows a user’s movements in all directions and provides counter-force against the lower back when a user leans against it. This chair was designed as an active working chair to stimulate an upright sitting posture, and this is why it is not equipped with a reclining mechanism like most conventional ergonomic chairs and does not support a lounging position.
The research supports the fact that active sitting does lead to an increase in core muscle activity.³ And an increase in core muscle activity leads to improved strength, endurance, and overall stability.
Something as simple as changing your office chair, from a standard chair to an active sitting chair can make the world of difference in your core stability and posture, and therefore, your chances of developing low back pain.
So, to answer the questions, how important is core stability while sitting at work?
It is undoubtedly, very important. Core stability is easy to improve and can decrease your risk of developing low back pain. By being able to keep your muscles strong and avoid abnormal wear and tear on your ligaments and joints of your spine, you can continue to work and live pain free.
Make the switch today. Improve your core stability by simply actively sitting at work!
US based Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist
- http://www.pthomegroup.com/sites/default/files/my%20liberary/Colby%20Lynn%20Allen%20Kisner%20Carolyn%20Therapeutic%20exercise%20Foundations%20and%20techniques%20F%20A%20Davis%202012.pdf Page 432.