If you are like most folks, your days and weeks involve an enormous amount tasks that have one major thing in common.
We sure do tend to do a lot of it these days don’t we?
We sit to work,
sit to travel,
sit to eat,
sit to be entertained,
sit to relax,
sit to socialize,
and probably sit to read this blog post…about sitting.
It seems our modern day doesn’t ask us to do much beyond sit in a chair, and we actually have to go out of our way to get in some sort of daily activity.
And if this is your situation, you are probably aching from all the sitting you are having to do. Maybe it is during the sitting itself, making it hard to sit as long as you may need to. Maybe it is just after some prolonged period of sitting; you could sit all day but getting out of that chair is like rising from the crypt.
So it is forgivable if some people look to solve this problem by design;
We’re a problem solving species with big brains, and at times big britches, so of course creativity ensues and all sorts of crazy things get made to make the uncomfortable a bit less uncomfortable. As a result you have office chairs that cost up to $1600, with financing available.
There is just one problem…
There is no chair that is going to solve the problems that prolonged sitting creates, becuase it really isn’t sitting itself that is the problem.
The problem is stasis; being static, still, unmoving for a period of time.
We just were not meant to do so much of it, and it is only in the last 200 hundred years of humanity that we have been steadily and progressively designing activity out of our lives.
This is a problems becuase internally we are a bags of organs, some filled with air, and plenty filled with all sorts of fluid. This is really useful, becuase it allows our bodies to take an enormous amount of shapes to move through, and leave our hands and heads free to interact, create, etc.
But this sloshy set up that gives us alot of freedom comes with a caveat; just like the container of your favorite condiment, contents settle when they aren’t moved around. And eventually, if you always settle in the same old place and for long period of time, things tend to get a little weird.
So what to do? Simple; the negative effects that all the sitting our modern lives so often ask of us can be managed and often avoided by two things…
The first thing is to stop asking your body to tolerate being so statically still. Literally; give up on that expectation being in any way linked to a good life.
Instead, try to break it up and move around. When a day or task asks you to be parked do not be suprised in the least that your body aches. This is no different than sleep… you have to give the body what it needs.
The second thing is to learn to sit through yourself.
All we need from a chair is something solid, reliable, and reasonable to sit on, and the rest of those two factors is really up to us…not the chair.
Ideally it is flat… like the ground we walk on…and not wobbling all over the place, and probably not at any extreme depth or height. The ground or a stool is always available to give us those things.
Solid, reliable, and reasonable.
Think of how much, when upright, you seek solid ground to dig into with your feet. It is no good when the ground is muddy or you are on a boat that is rocking all over the place. Sure, that will minimize stasis, but you’ll end up taking it the face or throw something out trying to prevent that.
A chair and sitting is no different, but culturally we certainly hope it is.
A good thing to consider is that probably very few people in India, China or Japan would ever seek a chair to solve their sitting problem.
But then again, that may be because those cultures have a much different value placed on sitting itself. It is much more an act of intention,
of being aware,
of being conscious.
Not checking out, either from your body or your surroundings.
If you want to dive a bit deeper into this, click on some of links below. These are a series of videos I made during the summer of 2020, when we were all at home, quarantined. Time has passed since then, but the message is the same.
For an overview of the big picture, see below for Part 1…
To start looking at how to sit through yourself, see below for Part 2…
For strategies to shake it up, and avoid all the stasis that we all tend to have, see below for Part 3…
For some simple modifications for the average chair, see below for Part 4…
For some further ways to modify the average change, see below for part Part 5…
Ultimately, there really is nothing wrong or rough about sitting. It is just the volume of it and the lack of variation in which we actually do it that tends to be so rough on our bodies. If you can see the big picture, and adjust accordingly, you might be surprised as to how those aches and pains respond.
Regardless, I hope you find the above helpful, and I hope you’re comfortable, able and well.