Sunday, May 28, 2017

How can your office chairs kill you


If you're reading this article sitting down—the position we all hold more than any other, for an average of 8, 9 hours a day—stop and take stock of how your body feels. Is there an ache in your lower back? A light numbness in your rear and lower thigh? Are you feeling a little down?
These symptoms are all normal, and they're not good. They may well be caused by doing precisely what you're doing sitting. New research in the diverse fields of epidemiology, molecular biology, bio mechanics, and physiology is converging toward a startling conclusion: Sitting is a public-health risk. And exercising doesn't offset it. "People need to understand that the qualitative mechanisms of sitting are completely different from walking or exercising. "Sitting too much is not the same as exercising too little. They do completely different things to the body."



The Office Chairs you're sitting in now is likely contributing to the problem. "Short of sitting on a spike, you can't do much worse than a standard office chair. She explains that the spine wasn't meant to stay for long periods in a seated position. Generally speaking, the slight S shape of the spine serves us well. "If you think about a heavy weight on a C or S, which is going to collapse more easily.? But when you sit, the lower lumbar curve collapses, turning the spine's natural S-shape into a C, hampering the abdominal and back musculature that support the body. The body is left to slouch, and the lateral and oblique muscles grow weak and unable to support it.
This, in turn, causes problems with other parts of the body. "When you're standing, you're bearing weight through the hips, knees, and ankles. "When you're sitting, you're bearing all that weight through the pelvis and spine, and it puts the highest pressure on your back discs. Looking at MRIs, even sitting with perfect posture causes serious pressure on your back."
Much of the perception about what makes for healthy and comfortable sitting has come from the chair industry. A chief cause of the problem, companies publicized, was a lack of lumbar support. But lumbar support doesn't actually help your spine. "You cannot design your way around this problem. "But the idea of lumbar support has become so embedded in people's conception of comfort, not their actual experience on chairs. We are, in a sense, locked into it."
The best sitting alternative is perching—a half-standing position at bar stool height that keeps weight on the legs and leaves the S-curve intact. Chair alternatives include the Stopper, a hybrid stool seat and the funky. Standing desks and chaise longues are good options. Ball chairs, which bounce your spine into a C-shape, are not. The biggest obstacle to healthy sitting may be ourselves. "Most customers still want chairs that look like chairs."
As an alternative to the more traditional Office Chairs, new styles of ergonomic chairs have been designed to try to create good support, comfort, and promote good posture. These chairs may take a little getting used to, but typically become very comfortable over time. Use of these types of ergonomic chairs can be very beneficial for some people with lower back pain or discomfort.

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