“Short of sitting on a spike, you can’t do much worse than a standard office chair.” So says Galen Cranz, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley. And you thought the Middle Ages were over! Did you know that we sit for an average of 8.9 hours a day, longer than any other body position. As you read this, take a moment and really check in with how your body feels? Does your lower back hurt, do you feel any numbness, do your neck and shoulders feel tense? While all of these sensations are considered normal, they certainly aren’t healthy.
And listen to this, people who sit for long periods have higher rates of hypertension, obesity, high blood triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and high blood sugar, regardless of weight. Yikes! Coupled with the fact that chair sitting causes the lumbar curve to collapse, turning the spine’s natural S-shape into a C (which hampers the abdominal and back musculature that support the body), means that the entire musculature of the body is affected.
So what are the solutions? Well, there are a few – an ergonomically designed chair like a perching chair can help keep that essential S curve intact in the spine. Standing workstations also work for many. And sitting on the floor in either an easy crossed legged posture (Sukasana in Yoga) or kneeling (Vadjrasana) also promotes correct spinal alignment and also opens the hips and strengthens the core. We made the Dharma Desk for exactly this reason!
However regardless of your sitting choice, it is essential to take breaks and move! Every 45 minutes get up and stretch (check out some easy and quick exercises here), talk a short walk or just choose to do any activities that don’t require sitting in a standing position (i.e., phone calls). Less chair sitting means happier bodies and happier minds – try it today!