It's been nearly impossible to ignore the recent sitting backlash and every media outlet has chosen to join in. We read an article back in 2006 with the title, "Sitting Straight 'Bad for Backs,'" but the momentum has been building lately around an article out of the Mayo Clinic. When Dr. James Levine couched his anti-sitting article under the headline, "Killer Chairs," everyone seemed to listen and follow suite.
"Don't Just Sit There"
"Sitting Wrecks Your Body"
"Sitting Is Killing You"
"Taking a Seat Can Take Years Off Life"
"A Standing Desk May Be the Best Anti-Aging Secret"
In many of these articles, the majority of copy was dedicated to explaining why sitting is so harmful. From organ damage to being more susceptible to cancer and in general, a shorter life span, when reading these articles at face value, no wonder many are ditching their chairs and opting to stand.
What we gathered from this sensationalism was:
Sitting kills you. So stop sitting.
And that didn't seem rational, believable or sane.
Many of these articles failed to address the "how." Shockingly, the research backing up these claims left out how their subjects were sitting and conversely, how they stood. When they did address how to sit, it merely offered the 90 degree model or the 135 degree leaning model (as shown in our photo of a recent RAAF project). These solutions are problematic as it treats each body as a generic being and not honoring each body as unique and individualistic. This "problem" isn't going to solve itself by offering a giant generic standing "bandage" to every person.
If sitting is killing us all, and the only solution to this is standing, what about drivers? Commuters? Airplane pilots? Others who can't simply stand as a solution to the notion that "Sitting Kills?" What happened to balance?
Are we all supposed to symbolically throw our chairs away, analogous to throwing our cigarettes in the garbage? Is standing really our "nicotine patch?"
The argument of "We weren't meant to sit all day!" abounds. One could argue that we also weren't meant to stand all day, either.
Judith Aston has been teaching a different body mechanic model since 1970, educating others on how to suite their unique body and creating products to facilitate this need. She's famous for the quote, "It is more about the how you do the what you do that makes all the difference."
When applied to this scenario, it's not really necessary to stand more often: it's more important to understand how to sit. And if you are standing, important to learn how to stand.
So here are a few tips we can all use without eliminating the chair completely.