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Chairs – an intro

Chairs – an intro

by Chris on December 14, 2009

I get asked about chairs all the time: which is best, what works for me, why do I feel terrible at the end of the day, and why most of them are too uncomfortable for words.

Have you wondered why your chair seems to get harder toward the end of the day? If you’re sitting in a chair for more than an hour at a time, even if you have it perfectly fit to you, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
Let’s think about that idea for a moment. Here’s another way to say it: unless you’re a serious athlete, you don’t do any kind of exercise for more than an hour at a time. Why would you ask your body to do anything else for more than that?

Sure, you say, but sitting isn’t stressful – I don’t get tired doing it.

No, you don’t get tired, but let’s make the distinction between leaving your work feeling tired versus feeling refreshed. You have a choice, even if you don’t know it; which would you prefer?

You see, your muscles and connective tissues have been stressed into holding a particular position while you’ve been sitting. Anytime you ask your body to hold a particular position, it has to do just that – hold. Holding something requires effort, even if it doesn’t overtax your respiratory system.

At the heart of this is the idea is that your bodies are designed for movement, not stillness. Your body is in constant motion, all the time. When it’s asked to hold a position for long periods of time or do the same motion(s) over and over again, it has to hold itself a certain way, which requires focused, localized effort and effort will tax the system.

Your body also does real well if it gets an occasional break from whatever it’s been doing, so that it can let go of any accumulated stress; Hence the need for getting up and moving around for 5 minutes or so every hour (or less, if you like).Most of you have countdown timers on your phones – mine’ll even let you choose the ringtone that signals you that it’s time! – set them for 40-50 minutes, then when they go off, GET UP! Walk down the hall, get a cup of water…whatever.

To be fair to the chair, in general they work quite well for sitting – just sitting. If you want to actually do something in them besides just sit (perhaps with a small glass of the Duluc’s sublime Très Vielle Reserve de Famille Cognac), then they need to be re-tasked to fit the work that you’re doing.

I’ve put together a three-part video about the main problem with chairs and some simple solutions to that problem.  Part one is attached to this page.  You can find the rest of the chair videos – and indeed ALL of my videos by CLICKING HERE and signing up.

Play with those ideas – follow up questions are encouraged! – and we’ll talk about working at your desk soon.

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