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Behind 8sense | 3 min reading time

The 8sense upright challenge. Here’s what you need to know!

Written by Theresia Lechner
Upright Challenge

Simply sitting up straight is not the best posture to have at the office. So why then does 8sense have the upright challenge and what does it do for you? Find out in this article.

What is the upright challenge all about?

The 8sense upright challenge is an office exercise which you can easily do with your 8clip:

  • To do this, click on the upright challenge in your app menu
  • You can then consciously sit up straight for either 5 minutes10 minutesor 15 minutes

What makes it special? Your 8clip checks whether you actually stay in this upright position or if perhaps you subconsciously revert back to slouching. You can follow this on your smartphone screen. At the same time, as soon as you are no longer sitting up straight, you’ll receive vibrating feedback from your 8clip as well. If you manage to complete the challenge, you receive Office Fitness points (more about that here). But why even do it in the first place?

8sense reminds you to sit upright
If required, 8sense prompts you to take on an upright challenge

Simply sitting up straight is not enough

There isn’t any single correct posture for the back. Countless studies have now been able to prove that any sitting position you assume for too long without interruption has the potential to trigger pain and discomfort.

The following therefore always applies: the best position is your next position [1].

In fact, every sitting position is healthy and safe for your body, as long as you do not stay in it constantly (more about “correct posture” can be found here) [1,2,3,4]. Nevertheless, it is important that you regularly sit up straight [5, 6, 7]. Why?

The upright challenge as a workout for your back, stomach and bottom

Typically, we lean against the backs of our chairs while working. This flattens the natural “arch” in our lower back,

resulting in some of your back muscles needing to work less. Even your gluteal and abdominal muscles become less active in a leaning and slightly hunched sitting position [8, 9].

Strained muscles when sitting upright
With the 8sense upright challenge you can activate the muscles in your abdomen, back and bottom in a targeted manner

Don’t be like a turtle!

When sitting hunched over for long periods of time with no interruptions, your head tends to shift forward – this is the classic “turtle position”. It increases the tension in the extensor muscles of your neck as well as the muscles in your chest. This can interfere with chestflexibility and flexibility in the shoulder-neck area, and also restrict these [10]. Not to mention, the constant bending of the cervical spine. All in all, this leads to excessive strain on the structures in your neck, which can lead to pain [13, 14, 15].

Head forward Posture
With the 8sense upright challenge you can put an end to the turtle position

Upright challenge for your intervertebral discs

Additionally, a constantly hunched-over sitting position also creates a lot of pressure on the front and stretches out the back of your intervertebral disc. If you remain in this position for extended periods of time, this negatively affects the disc’s ability to obtain nutrients [5,6,7].

Your intervertebral disc obtains nutrients via diffusion and therefore needs you to switch between different positions. Similar to a sponge, they soak up fluids and nutrients from their surroundings when they are relieved of pressure. Likewise, when your intervertebral discs are under pressure, they are squeezed out again (more about this here) [5,6,7].

When you switch to an upright position, the front of your intervertebral discs is relieved of pressure and can again be supplied with new, “fresh” fluids and nutrients. At the same time, the back of your intervertebral discs is “squeezed out” and waste can be transported away [5,6,7].

Sit up and take a deep breath

Last but not least, a hunched-over posture restricts your diaphragm’s range of movement [10, 11, 12]. Moving air in and out of your lungs worksbetter when you are in an upright position where you are not leaning [10, 11, 12].

Movement of the lungs drawn
When you sit up straight, your lungs can work better

Upright challenge = correct sitting position?

The researcher by the name of O’Sullivan is working together with other physiotherapists from Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland to prevent strain on the lower back when sitting [16, 17].

In doing so, he discovered that both an upright/elongated sitting position, as well as a relaxed/“normal” sitting position could lead to a reduction in lower back complaints [16, 17].

So you can see: both are important. A relaxed AND an upright position. It’s all about switching positions [1,2,3,4].

This is why the 8sense app and the 8clip – adapted to your own movement pattern – will encourage you to do more than simply take on the upright challenge. A wide range of corrective exercises and position changes are initiated and will help you to optimally relieve your back at the office.

Back up your knowledge

Did you know that people who sit at the computer for more than 6 hours a day have a tendency to adopt the “turtle head posture”? A study involving 60 office workers also concluded that head posture is associated with a certain disturbance in the participants’ balance. This means that your posture at the office not only affects your breathing, the ability of your intervertebral discs to obtain nutrients and the condition of your muscles, but also likely your sense of balance [18].

Important to note:
This article contains general recommendations only and must not be used for self-diagnosing or self-treatment. It is not a replacement for visiting your GP.

[1] Slater, D., Korakakis, V., O’Sullivan, P., Nolan, D., & O’Sullivan, K. (2019). “Sit Up Straight”: Time to Re-evaluate. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 49(8), 562–564.

[2] Womersley L, May S. (2006): Sitting posture of subjects with postural backache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Mar-Apr;29(3):213-8.

[3] Sorensen CJ, Norton BJ, Callaghan JP, Hwang CT, Van Dillen LR (2015): Is lumbar lordosis related to low back pain development during prolonged standing?Man Ther. 2015 Aug;20(4):553-7.

[4] Zemp, Roland; Fliesser, Michael; Wippert, Pia-Maria; Taylor, William R.; Lorenzetti, Silvio (2016): Occupational sitting behaviour and its relationship with back pain – A pilot study. In: Applied ergonomics 56, S. 84–91.

[5] Szczygieł, E., Zielonka, K., Mętel, S., & Golec, J. (2016). Musculo-skeletal and pulmonary effects of sitting position – a systematic review. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine.

[6] Frost, B.; Camarero-Espinosa, S.; Foster, E. (2019): Materials for the Spine: Anatomy, Problems, Solutions. In: materials(Basel). 12(2): 253. 

[7] Krämer, R.; Matussek, J.; Theodoridis, T. (2013): Bandscheibenbedingte Erkrankungen. Ursachen, Diagnose, Behandlung, Vorbeugung, Begutachtung. 6. Auflage. Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag.

[8] Morl F, Bradl I. Lumbar posture and muscular activity while sitting during office work. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2012; 23(2): 1–6.

[9] Rasouli O, Arab AM, Amiri M, Jaberzadeh S. Ultrasound measurement of deep abdominal muscle activity in sitting positions with different stability levels in subjects with and without chronic low back pain. Man Ther. 2011; 16(4): 388–393.

[10] Groszek M, Babula G, Nagraba Ł, Stolarczyk A, Mitek T. Zagrożenia powstające w wyniku niewłaściwej postawy siedzącej. Artoskopia I Chirurgia Stawów. 2011; 7(3–4): 50–61.

[11] Romei M, Lo Mauro A, D’Angelo MG, Turconi AC, Bresolin N, Pedotti A, Aliverti A. Effects of gender and posture on thoraco-abdominal kinematics during quite breathing in healthy adults. Respir PhysiolNeurobiol. 2010; 172(3): 184–191.

[12] Lin F, Parthasarathy S, Taylor J, Pucci D, Hendrix R, Makhsous M. Effect of Different Sitting Postures on Lung Capacity, Expiratory Flow, and Lumbar Lordosis; Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2006; 87(4): 504–509.

[13] Caneiro JP, O’Sullivan P, Burnett A, Barach A, O’Neil D, Tveit O, Olafsdottir K. The influence of different sitting postures on head/neck posture and muscle activity. Man Ther. 2010; 15: 54–60.

[14] Ming Z, Narhi M, Siivola J. Neck and shoulder pain related to computer use. Pathophysiol. 2004; 11(1): 51–56.

[15] Kanalayanaphotporn R. Changes in sitting posture affect shoulder range of motion. Bodyw Mov Ther. 2013; 1–5.

[16]O’Sullivan K, O’Sullivan P, O’Sullivan L, Dankaerts W. What do physiotherapists consider to be the best sitting spinal posture? Manual Therapy 2012; 17(5): 432–437.

[17]O’Sullivan K, O’Keeffe M, O’Sullivan L, O’Sullivan P, Dankaerts W. Perceptions of sitting posture among members of the community,both with and without non-specific chronic low back pain. Man Ther. 2013; 18(6): 551–556.

[18] Jung-Ho K, Rea-Young P, Su-Jin L, Ja-Young K, Seo-Ra Y, Kwang-Ik J. The effect of the forward head posture on postural balance in longtime computer based worker. Ann Rehabil Med. 2012; 36(1): 98–104.