Archive | August, 2015

The *New* Sit

Mom has been wrong all these years, telling us to sit up straight!  Articles published recently claim that sitting up straight places too much pressure on the spine.  MRI scanning of 3 seated positions, forward, upright, and leaning back, shows that a reclined seated position results in less intervertebral pressure and a decrease in compression on the spinal discs of the low back.

Check out this illustration:

Let’s think about this for just a moment.  Reducing the amount of total weight on the spine (by leaning back), will of course, decrease the amount of compression the bones and discs bear.  By this recommendation, a healthier suggestion intimates that people ought to lie entirely flat – that removes ALL pressure on the spine.  Actually, because gravity exists on this planet, it won’t remove all the pressure, so let’s ship everyone into space… that definitely removes most weighted pressure on the spine.

Given that this references only the weight the spine must bear, let’s have a go at this idea:  Remember what happens to astronaut bones?  NASA reports those tempting fate in space lose bone density and muscle mass along with many other side effects.  

According to, bones are living tissue and continue to grow throughout our lives.  Bones cells are replaced about every 10 years or so, and what keeps them strong?  National Institute of Health declares the more work bones do, the stronger they get.

That’s saying something.  In space, bones don’t get much work because there is little gravity for the muscles and bones to work against.  Makes sense.  In a reclined chair, bones aren’t getting much work through pressure or pull of muscles on them to hold them in an upright position.  Will people who lean back and recline while seated for long periods of time, change their bone density as well?  Probably!

And to add to your ideas about bones and lowered density, declares that “Everybody’s bones get weaker as they get older.”  This is only true if everybody stops moving as they get older… (which is often the case).

Bones don’t move on their own or choose a density based on age.  Bones require muscles to move them and when a muscle acts strongly on bone, the bone cells know to increase density to withstand the forces applied.  Put pressure on your spine – actually try sitting up for a change!

Why do aging women tend toward osteoporosis?  Men typically have more muscle mass to begin with so they enter the aging years with more dense bones.  Weight bearing exercise is typically recommended for women post-menopausal to keep bone density up.

Too often women facing a diagnosis of osteopenia or osteoporosis are told they must take medications.  Why is this?   For people who have weak bones they obviously reduced their movement habits over a long enough time that the bones don’t ‘require’ density.  Are they able to transform their daily lives and begin to exercise?   It may be easier to ensure patient compliance by prescribing a pill than prescribing exercise.

Take a second look at each of the above profiles – the head is forward of the shoulder.   Researchers obviously didn’t notice the strain on the neck and the potential deformity of the neck bones when they recommended the reclined position as best.

What research will you follow?   Here is an article,  Science of Posture, that states standing (or sitting) tall, has a positive effect on your thoughts, moods, habits, AND hormones.  Ultimately, the choice is yours in how you hold your body.  Research seems to support both slouching and sitting up straight.

I support staying optimistic, thinking creatively, feeling empowered and keeping my posture upright.  To do all this, just move well and more often!!   And the added benefits include maintaining bone density in the low back, as well.

If you’re having trouble moving easily, sitting straight, or keeping your balance, contact BODYWISE for your consultation today – remember Good Moves make for a Great Life!

#MoveEveryday, #MoveMoreAgeLess, #BodyWise, #AlignYourFeet, #PosturePerfect, #CreateYourLife, #BetterMovement, #GoodMovesGreatLife, #NatureBodyWiseBody