The Los Angeles Times recently published an article whose very title projects the point loud and clear: Don’t just sit there. Really. And in the very first paragraphs, you’ll find some quotes by respected doctors that show an increasingly negative attitude towards prolonged sitting: “‘Prolonged sitting is not what nature intended for us,’ says Dr. Camelia Davtyan… ‘The chair is out to kill us,’ says James Levine…”

As alarming or sensationalist as some of these quotes may be, the truth is that we are currently learning more and more about the long-term effects of a sedentary lifestyle – and it’s not pretty. From heart disease to obesity to chronic pain, too much sitting can impact your body in a wide variety of terrible ways. While sitting may seem natural and easy on the body at first, its potential side effects show that it is anything but:

“The human body was designed for walking, and people did a whole lot of that for millenniums. But lately, not so much. In general, scientists believe, Americans now sit for more than half of their waking hours. Sadly, the sitting position exerts forces on the body that it’s not built to accommodate, Davtyan says, and so, as comfy as it may seem, couch potato-hood can lead to a host of woes, including poor circulation and assorted aches and pains.”

The LA Times article (click here to read the whole thing) goes on to address the issues of obesity (“‘There is debate as to whether it is the chair or the knife and fork that have caused the increase in obesity rates'”) and other health problems like diabetes, heart disease – and even early death.

Sitting’s scary aftermath has led many researchers, scientists and journalists to liken it to smoking: “Every hour of TV that people watch, presumably while sitting, cuts about 22 minutes from their life span, the study’s authors calculated. By contrast, it’s estimated that smokers shorten their lives by about 11 minutes per cigarette.” We have been hearing more and more that sitting may be the new smoking – and that’s not just an attention-grabbing catch phrase. Unlike smoking, however, the habit of sitting is not always a choice; many Americans feel that they are not able to avoid the hours of sitting that their jobs and/or lifestyle require. The response to the warnings against sitting then become: Yes, I realize that I’m sitting too much and it is wreaking havoc on my health – but what can I possibly do about it?

Luckily, “[t]here are ways of outwitting our penchant for sitting. Levine has a treadmill at his desk that he strolls on all day long. He made his own, but many models are commercially available. Indeed, whole lines of furniture have been developed to facilitate what David Kahl calls “‘active sitting.'”

BackJoy-Posture-Plus-1Standing desks and other pieces of ergonomic office furniture can be cumbersome and costly. However, we at BackJoy® present another option: Our signature Posture+ is affordable and portable; it makes it easier than ever to maintain proper posture while sitting at a desk (or at home, or in the car, or at a football game…) Click here to learn about our Posture+ and how it may help you look better, feel better, and live a healthier lifestyle overall. If you’ve already tried the Posture+, we’d love to hear your feedback. Please share with us in the “comments” section below!

By Liana Orenstein