Musicians' Health Collective

Musicians' Health Collective: Supporting the health of musicians

So How Much Do You Actually Sit?

Last week, we looked at sitting, and how to do it, well, better.  Perhaps with more ease, with new awareness of the body, of where we sit...now it's time to look at how frequently we sit.  Here are some questions I pose to you, not to say that there's a right or wrong answer, but just to give insight into your movement patterns.

Let's look at these questions from the perspective of an average day:

Few of us sit with this awareness of alignment...

Few of us sit with this awareness of alignment...

1) How many hours a day do you spend sitting to practice?

2) How many hours a day do you spend sitting to rehearse (small ensemble, large ensemble, etc.)?

3) How much time do you spend sitting in a car (bus, train, public transportation)?

4) How much time do you spend sitting on a couch or chair to use a computer?

5) How much time do you spend sitting (or melting) on a couch or chair to watch TV?

6) How much time do you spend sitting in order to teach/conduct/coach/etc?

7) How much time do you spend sitting to eat?

8) Do you sit to exercise (i.e., cycling, spinning, rowing, etc) and how much?

For most people, the sum total of the above questions is somewhere between 10-15 hours.  Now, the counter questions.

9) How much do you walk a day?  (miles or minutes)

10) What areas of your body consistently cause you pain or discomfort?

11) Do you have one sided pain?  Have you been told that your injury is "normal wear and tear," even though it's one sided pain?

If you're a cellist, harpist, pianist, or another instrumentalist that sits while playing, you're logging a lot of repetitive time in sitting!

If you're a cellist, harpist, pianist, or another instrumentalist that sits while playing, you're logging a lot of repetitive time in sitting!

12) Do changes in chairs, beds, pillows, car seats, etc., cause long lasting back,neck, and hip pain?

13) How much do you exercise?

So most of us try to undo the 10-15 hours of sitting with an hour of vigorous exercise, and then assume that everything will be ok.  Unfortunately, that's not really how it works.  The problem with sitting is not only the frequency (of sitting), but also that we sit in almost the exact same position every day all of the time.  Obviously, to play an instrument, that position may be necessary, but do you really need to sit as much as you do?   What about sitting in different positions, outside of chairs, on the floor, cross legged...our chairs are crutches in a way, reinforcing poor movement patterns.  Take a moment to notice how much you sit, how you sit, and perhaps a few ways you could just sit less.

(and if you want to read more about changing sitting habits, Katy Bowman's book, "Move Your DNA" is amazing!)