Industry Market Trends
Your Chair is Your Enemy
May 11, 2010
Are you sitting down? On average, people sit 8.9 hours a day. Even if you exercise vigorously, sitting for long periods remains bad for your health, according to recent research. Beware of your chair. Most of us spend much of our workdays sitting. We do it at our desk. In meetings. For lunch. While making phone calls. We do it while doing just about anything that we do during a regular workday. "The Digital Revolution means sitting with a devout intensity that has never been equaled by sitters before. It means staring rigidly into a single screen and moving your fingers up and down. It means a generation, hunched forward tensely, groping for cybernetic interaction, typing and clicking," Wired reported over a decade ago. "Now everything's right in front of you, and you perch there staring and clicking for years on end." On average, we sit 8.9 hours a day, according to BusinessWeek. That is why a recent New York Times commentary is so upsetting. "Your chair is your enemy," Olivia Judson, an evolutionary biologist, wrote for the Times' Opinionator blog. "It doesn't matter if you go running every morning, or you're a regular at the gym. If you spend most of the rest of the day sitting [...] you are putting yourself at increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and an early death." It's long been known that injuries resulting from sitting for long periods are a serious occupational health and safety problem. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, prolonged sitting:
- Reduces body movement, making muscles more likely to pull, cramp or strain when stretched suddenly;
- Causes fatigue in the back and neck muscles by slowing the blood supply while putting high tension on the spine, especially in the lower back or neck; and
- Causes a steady compression on the spinal discs that hinders their nutrition and can contribute to their premature degeneration.