Your Health Matters
In our daily lives, sitting is such a commonplace activity that it almost seems absurd to think about it. Therein lies the problem: Prolonged chair sitting can lead to serious health problems
Let’s first take a look at how different cultures have approached this essential question. Then, we will explore the benefits of floor sitting, and show why the Uppeal Desk can help ensure proper posture throughout your workday.
Sitting in Different Cultures around the World
For thousands of years, human beings have taken rest on the ground using variations of a squat, cross-legged or a kneeling positions. And despite the availability of chairs and a multitude of things to sit on, sitting on the floor remains a common activity in many cultures.
In fact, sitting on the floor is one common thread that runs cross-culturally with slight variations that reflect the ethics, health, and insights of many of the world’s population. Consider the following:
- In the Buddhist and Hindu traditions of yoga, practitioners of meditation sit in the lotus position (or sukhasana) for long periods of time. This type of sitting is believed to not only stretch the leg muscles, but also improve posture, promote well-being through correct flow of chakra points in the body, and even aid proper digestion through alignment of the spine.
- Various cultures in Asia and Africa rely on a squatting posture. This includes the Hadza tribesman in Tanzania squat for extended periods of time, where the weight of the body is on the feet but the knees and hips are bent - often resting against an object to distribute weight efficiently. What’s notable is that their active lifestyles offsets many health risks of those in more Westernized cultures
- The Japanese have a formalized form of sitting called seiza (translation: “correct sitting”), where an individual sits on their heels while the knees rest on the floor to evenly distribute the weight of one’s body. While a somewhat difficult pose, it relates to the Japanese sense of order, civility, and grace.
- Many Westerners use a common style of floor sitting known colloquially as "Indian style," where the buttocks and the sides of the heels are placed beneath the heels to distribute one’s weight on the floor. However, this style of sitting is also common in Korea, where it is referred to as “Yangban style”, a name that gives a nod to the traditional ruling class of the country.
Each of these positions are intended to promote the natural flexibility and movement of one’s body without discomfort. Whether one chooses to squat, kneel, or sit cross-legged, individuals are able to stretch their hips, legs, pelvis and spine helping to promote natural flexibility and movement.
Chair-Sitting: A Modern Dilemma
Of course, these ancient forms of sitting were implemented during a time when people were less sedentary. These forms of rest were usually broken up by strenuous physical activity that would offset any potential health problems.
In our modern world, people are now required to spend extensive periods of time seated at work and completing daily tasks throughout the day in chairs. Estimates of daily sitting times range from 6.5 hours daily up to 10 hours - a staggering figure that only shows an upward trend in coming years. Adding to this is our increasing reliance on sitting in vehicles to run errands and commute to work, and you can easily see where a host of problems develops.
It’s a common given in our modern culture that sitting in a chair for this period of time is extremely unhealthy. The lower back is particularly susceptible to the problems relating to the structure of the lower back (the lumbar region of the spine), as well as the movement of the pelvis.
The result? Never before has there been such an epidemic of health problems resulting from sitting in the same place. Some of the most common symptoms of extended chair-sitting include:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Arthritis (particularly in the hips)
- Chronic joint inflammation
- Muscle atrophy
- Weight gain
- Susceptibility to developing Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
With all of these problems resulting from chair sitting, it naturally raises the question: Should we be opting to sit on the floor over a chair in the interest of our long-term health and overall well-being?
How Floor Sitting Positively Affects the Body
Through clinical evidence into modern ergonomics (the study of efficiency of work), it has been shown that different ways of sitting place a variety of physical stresses on our bodies. Many people use assistive devices and supports to mitigate these stressors to the body when sitting for long periods of time. Despite using these devices, sitting-related injuries are on the rise.
Floor-Sitting as an Alternative
People have been looking to the past for insight into remedies for these problems. Floor sitting has become a viable option for many individuals, especially with the widespread adoption of healthy lifestyles that incorporate yoga and seated meditation.
In fact, there is a large body of studies and evidence that suggests that sitting on the floor is beneficial for one’s health. Health professionals are now advising their patients and the public that sitting on the floor helps maintain the natural curvature of the spine. This, in turn, improves the strength and flexibility of one’s body to avoid developing lower-back pain and other drawbacks of chair-sitting.
The reason for these claims is that floor sitting retains the inward natural spine curvature at the lower back. Called the lumbar lordosis, this natural curvature is relatively low, which retains our natural position and posture. Consequently, floor-sitting helps align the upper back and stabilizes the pelvis region as well. Compared to a more flattened posture of the lumbar lordosis during chair-sitting, we can plainly see the benefits of floor sitting.
Another benefit of floor sitting is postural stabilization. From floor-sitting positions, our muscles are activated to keep ourselves upright. This, in turn, frees our organs to work properly. From our lungs, intestines, and general circulation, floor sitting promotes a remedy for the many problems caused by chair sitting.
Is Floor Sitting the Right Way to Sit?
Floor sitting for those who need to work at a desk for a prolonged period of time should be aware that it is not a panacea for prolonged sedentary behavior. Despite its superior alternative to only sitting in a chair, numbness, joint pain, and other trade-offs can still occur during prolonged sessions. So, is there a better way?
The answer is that a variety of postures throughout your working day is the best of all worlds. Utilizing a variety of postures while engaged in activity that is typically confined to sitting in a chair can offset potential health problems. By having the ability to sit on the floor, squat, rest in a chair, and stand, people are able to adjust throughout their work day. Changing postures relieves overworked or constricted areas, providing relief without developing chronic pain.
The Uppeal Desk is the perfect desk to achieve these goals. Raising from 17 inches to 52 inches, the Uppeal Desk is able to adjust at the touch of a button to 4 customizable presets - perfect for those that enjoy performance and versatility. Made in the USA, the Uppeal Desk’s design promotes excellent posture throughout your day to live healthily and maintain a positive well-being. See why the Uppeal Desk is revolutionizing what it means to work optimally today.