Bleacher seats are not designed for comfort or support. To prevent bleacher butt, fatigue and pain, you must take matters into your own hands and make adjustments to improve how your body feels after hours of sitting on bleachers.
Practice Good Posture
First and foremost, it is imperative to make an effort to maintain a good posture. You cannot rely on slouching to take pressure off of your lumbar spine; it actually increases the load! Imagine sitting next to a string hanging from the ceiling. Good posture keeps your ear, shoulder, and hip all in line with that string. Essentially, sit up straight and bring your shoulders back. This may feel awkward initially, but does reduce the stress through the back.
We do not utilize the muscles required to maintain correct posture and so our muscles may fatigue well before the event on the field ends. The solution? Exercise! This is where exercise can have a direct effect on symptoms felt from sitting on bleachers. Exercise will allow you to sustain correct posture for longer periods. Focus on core exercises that target the back such as:
- Side props
Despite positive changes in posture and strength, you may still find some degree of stiffness and pain with long bouts of sitting. It is ideal to incorporate changes in position periodically to give your muscles and joints a break. Try to stand up and take a lap every so often to prevent fatigue and allow your body to reset. Just remember to resume good posture when you return to sitting.
There are a number of “sitting aids” designed to help reduce the stress on the low back by providing support and promoting good posture. These can be as simple as seat pads to reduce pressure on the buttocks or “bleacher chairs” that provide a backrest for added comfort. Below is a list of convenient options recommended for comfort, support and prevention of the dreaded “bleacher butt.”
- A stadium chair with back support (some models are even heated)
- A foam stadium seat
- An ergonomic gel cushion (a forward tilt can help your posture)
- A blanket (can serve double-duty as a seat cushion and also keep you warm)