Sitting in the bleachers during the fall season to watch your favorite football, hockey, or soccer team play can be a lot of fun. The strain on your back, however, won’t be. There are a few things you can do so you won’t miss a single touchdown, slapshot, or penalty kick! Learn how to sit safely at any sporting event.
Optimize Your Seating Arrangement.
For stadiums with metal or wood bleachers, bring a folding bleacher seat that has a hard backing attached to it. The firm surface will promote proper posture. It will also help prevent you from leaning forward and rounding your back, alleviating strain on the back.
When bleachers aren’t an option, bring a sturdy chair to sit on. It’s important to avoid using slouchy 4-post canvas collapsible chairs. Although the ease of portability is appealing, these chairs often lack support and sag in the seat area. This causes your tailbone to curve while you sit and can lead to pain. Instead, invest in a sturdy folding chair that has a rigid structure. Purchasing new furniture may seem like a hassle, but investing in a few quality ergonomic pieces can truly make a world of difference for your overall wellbeing.
Proper Sitting Posture.
Being mindful of your sitting posture may sound like an annoying task, but practicing good posture can really be beneficial to your health. You’ve probably noticed how you’re more likely to slouch in your chair after you’ve been sitting a while. When you slouch, you aren’t using your stabilizing core muscles, which puts extra pressure on your muscles, discs, and joints. Not to mention, it leads to back pain and fatigue.
Instead, sit with your chest out and a slight arch in your back. Your head, neck, and torso should be upright, and your feet flat on the floor. If your feet don’t reach the ground, bring a small collapsible stool with you. You can also roll up a thick towel or pillow, about 6 inches in diameter, and place it snugly between your back and the chair. Use the roll for 20-minute increments at a time as your body gets used to proper alignment. Practicing this will engage your core and keep your spine in a neutral position, leaving you feeling your best throughout the entire event.
Get Up And Move.
It’s not just about the amount of time you spend sitting, it’s also about how you sit which can lead to pain and misalignment of the back, neck, and hips. Our bodies crave movement, so remaining in a single position for prolonged periods will cause some major problems. Try alternating between sitting and standing every 20 minutes. You can even take a short walk around the field or concession area to stretch your muscles a bit. This will take some strain off of your lumbar spine and help combat fatigue, stiff muscles, and even weight gain.
Set a timer for yourself and take a stroll. Alternate between sitting and standing while talking with friends or waiting for your food to be ready. Incorporate movement into your outing in ways that work for you. The main goal is to avoid staying sedentary for long periods of time.
Wear Proper Footwear.
Although you may be sitting quite a bit during the game, you’d be surprised by the amount of time you actually spend on your feet. From walking to the field to climbing stadium bleachers, and everything in between. It’s crucial to have shoes that support your arches and stabilize your heels.
This is especially important when dealing with uneven ground or unpredictable weather conditions. For instance, things like rain or sleet can make walking more challenging. Not to mention, more dangerous! Wearing a running-style shoe (even if you aren’t a runner) will keep your feet secure and stable. Plus, you’ll feel more confident in your movements instead of worrying about tripping and falling. If you’re wearing boots, be sure to put a high-quality orthotic inside to provide plenty of support.
Click here to learn more information about how footwear can cause back pain.
If you are interested in learning more information about preventing back pain or would like to schedule an appointment to get back to enjoying the things you love, call our team now at (586) 884- 4565!