Don't ruin the positive effects of exercise by sitting in a bad position

  • 4 min read

The owner and the head teacher of massage school Erottajan Hierojakoulu, Heli Onikki, is smiling at the school premises at the heart of Helsinki, Finland. This woman has made her dreams come true, you can see that by looking at the cv of this multitalented lady on the school’s website. The list is breath-taking: a trained masseuse, sports masseuse, physiotherapist, sports physiotherapist, personal trainer, gym trainer, wellness coach, Crosstraining & Crossfit instructor, and IKSA kettlebell instructor.

– My working days consists of a variety of administrative work, teaching, and supervising client work. When I have time, I also work with the clients, mostly as a physiotherapist. I also act as the physiotherapist for the Finnish National Women's Underwater Rugby Team during competition trips, and do various projects through my own company, Fysio-Origo, lists cheerful Onikki the most rewarding aspects of her job.

Challenges of sitting

But as in every job, there are also challenges in Onikki's work.

– The biggest challenge in my job is the increased sitting. When I ran my own gym and worked as a personal trainer, masseuse and physiotherapist every day, I sat very little during the day. Now the time spent sitting has increased, and although it is not even close to how much many office workers sit, I notice that sitting affects my body.

People are increasingly aware of the importance of ergonomics, and a great deal of people are investing a lot in their health. However, a large part of the clients of Erottaja Hierojakoulu come for massage or physiotherapy when they already have problems.

– One of our largest customer groups is people who sit a lot and who have back problems, mainly in the neck and shoulders. It's great to note, however, that more and more people are taking responsibility for their own wellbeing.

– You have only one body, take good care of it in the best possible way, in all situations, says Heli Onikki. 

To sit or to stand?

Onikki also says that people already have a good understanding of the disadvantages of sitting, or at least they know that excessive sitting is not good. Nowadays she often hears about adjustable tables at the work place that allow working in the standing position, but she does not recommend standing the whole day.

- Very often people need to be reminded of the fact that extremities rarely work. Alternating sitting and standing is very good. If you have an "ordinary" office chair, I recommend that you to stand more than sit. If you have a two-part saddle chair you can increase the time of sitting. The sitting ergonomics of Salli Saddle Chairs is excellent, and the swing mechanism adds movement to your day and thus improves the quality of sitting.

The effortless solution

Onikki has some experience of back pain and its possible solutions herself.

– I've had lower back pain since my twenties when I use old-fashioned office chairs. The more I sat, the stiffer and worse my back was. Sitting on Salli has been an improvement. Moving, rolling and reaching is also extremely easy on a saddle chair. When I sit my back is in the natural position, and I do not end up unawares into a bad position. Height adjustment and easy movements make working pleasant.

Exercise reverses the bad effects of sitting?

Onikki wants to remind everybody who are keen on exercising on an important issue.

– It is a misconception that exercising outside the work day would undo the bad effects of sitting. Sure moving helps, but it is not enough to overcome the disadvantages of sitting. I move and I train a lot, and I'm still suffering from back problems, which are clearly related to sitting. It also works the other way round. By sitting all day at work in a bad position, you accidentally abolish the effects of active exercise. Therefore, it would be best to move naturally as much as possible during the work day. For example, you can use the Bluetooth headset for phone calls, and go for a walk at the same time.

No unnecessary pressure in the genital area

Onikki also emphasizes the importance of the two-part saddle chair. The middle gap in the saddle chair is important for the blood and lymph circulation.

– It is important that the fluid circulation also works in the pelvic area and in the genital area undisturbed. The middle gap in the two-part saddle chair allows optimal fluid circulation and removes the uncomfortable pressure from the genital area. Sitting becomes not only healthy but also more comfortable.

Heli Onikki know the anatomics of the human body.

Ergonomics in the gym and outside it

As an envoy for healthy lifestyle, Onikki warmly encourages and congratulates those who have found the pleasures of physical activity.

– At gym you certainly remember to take great care of your lifting and squatting ergonomics. Remember to do this also outside the gym! I would warmly recommend Salli as a part of an active lifestyle. You can really feel the difference during training when you have used Salli instead of a regular chair – the back is not stiff but much more elastic and functional. This will certainly also reduce the risk of injury at the gym.

Thank you Salli for spreading sitting health information!

After hearing about publishing house VK-Kustannus and Salli's co-operation this year – as the leading sitting health specialist in the field Salli supplies VK-Kustannus’s textbooks with material – Onikki expresses a wish:

– It would be great if the number one in sitting health would write a whole book of sitting ergonomics for vocational and educational use. It would really fill a great need.

The professional of wellbeing thanks Salli for spreading sitting health information and being a pioneer in the field.

– It is important to spread the information. Old-fashioned sitting is dangerous to the body and just to stand is no solution either, whereas sitting in a standing-like position on a two-part saddle chair is the solution. There are already many studies on this topic.

– Take care of yourself at work and at home. We have only one body and you should take care of it already before it expresses its dissatisfaction.

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    Change the way you sit

    The saddle chair has me sitting upright again. You sit on your sitting bones and your spine is naturally straight. Now it does take some getting used to, so two of us share it and swap each hour or so to begin with but I can sit on it for half a day within the first few weeks. The chairs are incredibly well made and robust.

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    We use Salli stools in our dental clinic and love the quality and ergonomics. Our most recent purchase was a smooth process with good communication throughout. Highly recommend.

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    Change the way you sit

    The saddle chair has me sitting upright again. You sit on your sitting bones and your spine is naturally straight.
    Now it does take some getting used to, so two of us share it and swap each hour or so to begin with but I can sit on it for half a day within the first few weeks.
    The chairs are incredibly well made and robust.

    Thanks for the great review Effie. Yes there is an adjustment period as it is a new way of sitting, but once you adjust, there is no going back.

    Love the Salli Pro Small

    Having previously used a cheaper saddle stool for a while before getting this one I have really appreciated the difference. I can feel the quality and extra comfort all round. Very glad I made the swap to a Salli.

    Great! Thanks for the review Deb.