Slouching is a habit many of us are guilty of, and may have been try­ing to cor­rect since our deskbound school days.

But while we’ve been busy prac­tis­ing our good pos­ture by bal­anc­ing books on our head or pulling our­selves up with imag­i­nary string, ex­perts have dis­cov­ered that sit­ting slumped may not be so bad.

In a pa­per re­leased last year, slump-sit­ting pos­tures helped in­crease the amount of fluid be­tween spinal discs, help­ing to re­duce stiff­ness in the joints.

The study by phys­io­ther­a­pists at the Univer­sity Hospi­tal of North Tees in

Durham con­cluded that some slouching can ‘pro­vide a valu­able al­ter­na­tive to sit­ting up­right’.

And Aus­tralian stud­ies show that sit­ting slouched in be­tween pe­ri­ods of sit­ting up­right can help keep mus­cles in the core and legs re­laxed.

Gavin Smith, an os­teopath from Lon­don, told the Mail On­line: “There’s this cul­tural ideal, and even whole in­dus­tries, that would ar­gue slouching is not good for us.

“While sit­ting straight ac­ti­vates mus­cles in the ab­domen, pelvis and back, slump-sit­ting re­laxes them, and so some pe­ri­odic relaxation is help­ful.”

In fact, try­ing to sit as we’ve al­ways been told, with feet flat on the floor and a straight back, can cause ten­sion in the mid­dle of the spine, and worse, breath­ing prob­lems over time. Ac­cord­ing to some of the ex­perts, as long as you get up to walk around af­ter slump­ing for a while, it’s ab­so­lutely harm­less.

“Sit­ting or stand­ing in any po­si­tion for pro­longed pe­ri­ods is un­wise. Slump­ing in it­self is no worse for us than sit­ting up straight, pro­vided we don’t do it all the time,” he said.

Aus­tralian re­searchers found that com­bin­ing slouching with sit­ting straight was bet­ter than stay­ing in one po­si­tion for the whole day, us­ing a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent mus­cles to en­cour­age sta­bil­ity.

Mr Smith sug­gests switch­ing po­si­tions ev­ery hour, in­clud­ing when us­ing a stand­ing desk – be­cause stand­ing up strong rather than re­lax­ing could cause greater ten­sion.

Get­ting up to walk around also pre­vents the gluteal mus­cles in the but­tocks and ham­strings in the back of the legs from short­en­ing and tight­en­ing. – The Sun

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