I think we can all agree the holidays add a bit more stress. Friends and family, near and far, come together to break bread, celebrate and give thanks. Whether traveling by car or by plane, your seat on a seat will be involved. When positioning yourself in your chair of choice, there a few key points to keep in mind, so to keep your natural spinal curves aligned!
First, the seat and back of the chair should be at appropriate height and angle to view the road ahead. To lessen the fatigue of your extensor or postural muscles, recline your chair to approximately 120 degrees instead of sitting straight up at 90 degrees.
Next, gently lean forward and scoot your “sits bones” or ischial tuberosities as far back as possible to make sure you are sitting with a proper pelvic neutral position.
Now, allow the small of your back to rest against the lumbar support of the chair by pumping up the lumbar support as much as you can tolerate. If this isn’t possible, using an extra article of clothing like a sweater or jacket can help support the low back.
Position the head rest so it is level with the base of your skull. You want to feel the back of the skull gently pressed against the headrest while keeping the chin parallel to the ground. (Note hair clips and hats will make this difficult).
Remember to drop your shoulders down and feel your shoulder blades glide down against your rib cage and try to maintain that position. This will reduce the tendency to round the shoulders forward and lead with your chin.
While driving, try to keep the feet and knees in parallel to each other. Do not allow the left leg to lean against the car door or the right foot to toe out while on the gas/brake.
The “10 & 2” hands rule puts the hands in a risky position especially if an accident occurs and the air bag deploys. The preferred “9 & 3” position is best to keep your shoulders relaxed and hands protected, but be sure to keep the elbows pulled into the sides. Also, relax your grip on the wheel. NASCAR drivers keep their grip loose so they can make quick maneuvers!
Lastly, no matter how horrendous traffic may be, remember to breathe and that sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination! Safe travels!
A BIG THANK YOU to Professor Andrea Beckham who taught me many of these points before Thanksgiving break my junior year at the University of Texas. Happy Holidays and Hook ‘em Horns! For more tips from me, The Dancing Doc, check out our website, like our Facebook page, or call for a consultation! Maximize your health and living with these tips and more, today!