Sitting Isn't the New Smoking
According to research, Americans spend much of their day sitting. In fact, many estimate that the typical American office worker spends anywhere from 8 to 12 hours sitting every day! This includes time eating meals, working at a desk or commuting to the office.
Not moving is what's causing your back pain!
Pain & Discomfort
As you may have experienced, sitting all day in the office can cause all sorts of pain in your back, hips and neck. As we will discuss later, this isn’t because of your posture, it's because we need to move.
“The spine isn’t a delicate structure it’s built to last. What it’s not meant to do is sit still all the time.”
- Matthew Smuck, MD
Chief of PM&R and Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery
President of the Spine Intervention Society
Why Do We Feel Pain?
Let's agree when we have been sitting for a while then stand up we feel better. The image on the right explains why that is. Different body positions put different amounts of pressure on a spine, and there is more pressure when you are sitting versus standing.
Sitting is not inherently a bad thing. Our spines are designed to take this pressure. What it’s not meant to do is stay in that same position, without a change in posture.
“Worldwide, we estimate that physical inactivity causes 6-10% of the major non-communicable diseases...physical inactivity seems to have an effect similar to that of smoking or obesity.”
- The Lancet
Pressure Isn’t Bad, Not Changing It Is...
Moving between different positions helps the spine “breathe” through a process called diffusion. Just like an accordion that sucks air in when you expand it and pushes air out when you press it back together, only through compressing and releasing the spinal discs can oxygen move through your spine. The best way to do this is through natural movement.
Constant pressure, without varying it often, will stop the spine from diffusing. In essence, you can suffocate your spine by not moving frequently.
“No matter how comfortable you get, your back still won’t like a long sitting session.”
- WebMD, reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD
This is Why Ergonomic Chairs are the Worst!
A loose definition of the term ergonomic chair could be 'a chair that is adjustable in one or more ways and has plush seats, armrests and may include pillows/supports.'
An ergonomic chair can actually be the worst thing for us office workers! These chairs will keep you comfortable for longer and hide the pain from our suffocating spines. These chairs trick us into not moving for longer periods of time, therefore, preventing diffusion for longer.
“Both sitting and standing are linked with detrimental health outcomes. The next generation of office work postural support will be one that accommodates both sitting and standing as well as a continuum of postures..."
- Jack P. Callaghan, PhD, CCPE, FCSB
Can Going to the Gym Compensate for Sedentary Time?
Unfortunately, no... No amount of exercise can undo the damage done to the spine while remaining sedentary for extended periods of time. According to WebMD, “even if you work out 7 hours a week - far more than the suggested 2-3 hours - you can’t reverse the effects of sitting 7 hours” during the workday.
Instead, sitting all day can reverse the benefits of going to the gym!
"The new federal exercise guidelines demonstrate that, based on the best science, everyone can dramatically improve their health just by moving -- anytime, anywhere, and by any means that gets you active."
- Adm. Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary of Health
Department of Health and Human Services
How do We Feel Better?!?
Frequency of movement is key. The more people move during the day, the better they will feel at the end of a workday. Prolonged sitting in office / home office environments is the root cause of many physical issues.
Consider the image on the right. If you can consistently break up your sedentary time, then you will prevent the pain, discomfort and health problems that comes with sedentary time.
Treadmill Desk... Really?
Currently there is no way to get consistent, frequent movement during your desk work without interrupting your focus. Most people have trouble adapting to treadmill desks. The main problem is that your entire center of gravity is moving which makes typing challenging. It works for some, but we think we have a better answer. Check out some reactions to treadmill desks in this video.
We need a new office / home office seating solution that can deliver frequent, natural movement into our workday without disrupting our trains of thought.
Any ideas? We have some...