Sitting is Getting a Bum Rap
You hear it being said everywhere these days: Sitting is the scourge of modern living, the cause of so many of our aches and pains. It makes sense that we might think so, given the hours of uncomfortable sitting people everywhere experience while working at computers and desk jobs.
One approach to addressing the epidemic of sitting-related pain is to work standing up. This idea has spawned the sale of dozens of “standing desks” that have begun to flood the ergonomic furniture market. Standing may work for some, but many people find standing to be just as stressful, or even more so, than sitting.
One group of researchers in Scotland came up with the idea that we should give up sitting altogether and, instead, take the entire load off our backs by lying down while we work. These enterprising researches have come up with elaborate reclining desk chairs, with attached adjustable racks for computer monitors and keyboards, to take any and all weight off the spine. The assumption is that being upright is the problem, not the WAY we are being upright.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing inherently bad or wrong with standing, or even lying down while you work at your computer, if this works for you and you like it.
But let’s put a pause here on the anti-sitting movement and remind ourselves that the real issue is not whether or not you are sitting or standing at your desk but HOW you are sitting or standing.
If you’re sitting like a baby—in other words, sitting with the weight of your body on the front of your pelvis rather than the back of it, and you are supported by bones that are in the naturally aligned relationship to each other as intended by the human design, you will be able to sit comfortably for long periods of time.
Ditto for standing. If you stand like a toddler, with your butt out behind you and your legs directly under your body like vertical pillars of support, your spine can elongate, your core abs can engage properly (no gym workout required for this), and you will be able to stand quite comfortably.
We live in a muscle-obsessed society where we have been taught to believe we must either strengthen our muscles or stretch them often or do both. We’ve lost sight of the necessary role our bones play in providing the support we need to be solidly upright and comfortably relaxed.
I designed The Wedge, a small and simple sitting cushion that costs pennies compared to expensive ergonomic furniture, to provide just enough of a reminder for keeping your pelvis tipped at the angle that allows for comfortable sitting almost anywhere.
Try it for yourself and find out why this little gem of a cushion is so popular among people who sit in front of computers (and drive cars, watch movies, attend concerts and sporting events . . .). We will happily refund your purchase if you don’t love it as much as much as we believe you will.
Kathleen Porter is a posture and movement coach. She is the author of Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living: The Practice of Mindful Alignment (Inner Traditions, 2006 & 2013) and Healthy Posture for Babies and Children (July 2017). She has traveled the world researching and observing populations who live in naturally aligned bodies and who move, work and age with ease. She is the creator of UpRightNOW, an online program she is developing for adults and children alike, and her company Natural Posture Solutions manufactures several small posture aids.
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