Sitting May Be More Unhealthy Than Smoking – But There Are Solutions

When Bill Stumpf rolled out the Aeron task chair for manufacturer Herman Miller in the late 80s, he probably had no idea of the profound effect his stunning design would have on the staid office furniture market. Once the home of banal and bland foam molded seats on casters, the task chair now found itself in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, sharing display space with Picasso, Gaugin and Rodin.

A sea change in design and manufacture of the formerly humble office chair rapidly erupted. Combining the aesthetics of high design with the arrival of new materials such as durable mesh fabrics and more sophisticated pneumatic devices, task chairs achieved a level of comfort never previously approached (or even thought much of). Desk bound workforces found it a lot easier to sit through those eight hour days answering phones or feeding data into increasingly “content hungry” computers. Productivity in the enclosed work environment increased. This all sounds pretty terrific and on its face makes a great case for maximizing comfort in the office.

Unfortunately, as so often occurs with a “sea change” most people don’t bother to pay much attention to unintended consequences in the new waters. About twenty years after the new wave products became the default sitting solutions, some disturbing medical data emerged.

It runs out that of all the external health risks people bring on themselves (smoking, drinking, drug use) perhaps the most insidious and harmful over time is, well, just “sitting around’. As life styles became more and more sedentary OUTSIDE the work place (car travel, television), work habits also encouraged inactivity. It is pretty easy to sit in a cool task chair for four hours and never need to move. It is also deadly.

In 2010 the American Cancer Society published the results of a 13 year study that followed the health effects of sitting on 123,216 working men and women. The results were sobering.

Women who were inactive and sat on average six or more hours per day were 94% more likely to die during the time period studied than their peers who sat less than 3 hours per day.

Men who similarly sat 6 or more hours per day were 48% more likely to die than their fellow males who worked in conditions that required they spend a majority of their work day on their feet. An interesting footnote to the study is that the damage of excessive inactivity is not really “offset-able”. The effects manifested themselves equally for example, among people who exercised regularly outside of work.

Peter Opsvik has created a line of chairs that accepts the reality that modern tasks require “sitting” but adapts chairs to enable and facilitate full ranges of motion of the entire body. The chairs encourage natural movement and adjustment, creating critical variation in blood flow, respiration and healthy muscle contraction. Over the course of an 8 hr. day, these “small moves” can add years to the life of a population that is increasingly less active.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Nick Barone

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