Written by Meriel Davis, chiropractor at our Hove chiropractic clinic.
The crux of the issue with chairs as a whole is that they are in fact a recent invention. In the last millennium chairs were primarily used by the upper classes and royalty whilst the rest of us would have had to make do with benches, rocks, squatting or lying down. Humans have been around far far longer than chairs have been. Humans for thousands of years have been lying down, squatting leaning, sitting on knees or crossed legged. It is only in the past few hundred years that these weird things called chairs have become common place. And these chair things have become an absolute staple piece of furniture in every building in the western world.
The problem with chair sitting is that it stretches our glutes (bum muscles) and they become week. Because our knees are bent at right angles on chairs our hamstrings become shorter and they take over the work the glutes do whilst walking. Chair sitting also keeps the hip flexors in a shortened contracted position leading to the common hunched over position you see older people have. Also there is in fact a lot of literature linking prolonged sitting down to increased mortality, back problems and degenerative diseases.
One thing I asked asked a lot about is the correct sitting posture. Although there is a ‘good’ way to sit and a ‘bad’ way to sit…the crux of the issue is to try to limit the amount of sitting down you do completely. Make sure you stand every 15-20 minutes if you are in a desk bound job. When you’re at home watching the tv it’s arguably better to lie on the sofa than to sit. Sitting is in fact a completely passive act where you’re not activating any muscle groups….ideally we should be using our musculature and arranging our skeletal system in such a way that we can support ourselves. Animals shouldn’t require external furniture to rest comfortably (and we are animals).
Writing this blog…..was I sitting on a chair? Nope I was sat crossed legged on the floor giving my hips a nice stretch 🙂
Reading this blog, what position were you sitting in? we would love to know…. please also give us your feedback on what positions and types of chairs does your back enjoy or not enjoy?