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11 November 2013

Sitting on a chair can be very relaxing but until a short time ago in evolutionary terms it was unknown.

People in Western Europe rarely had furniture that would allow them to sit, and certainly did not generally have the lifestyles for ten hours in a chair a day.

Our children are sitting in chairs for a great deal of their lives until they leave school, often to then go straight into office jobs that have them sitting down all day.

We relax in chairs because of acquired habit, not because the posture is good for us.

Sitting “up straight” seems to have been thought a good idea by those people who thought the exercises given to soldiers – of holding their shoulders back, a task designed to strengthen the upper girdle when used for a couple of years  - was a good idea to apply to everyone endlessly. While a proportion of the population may cope this is not a great idea, especially when taken too long and too far and applied to the too young.

When you sit your body is denied the use of the large joints of the lower limbs to redirect load and stress lies unresolved in the lower back. Eventually this damages the soft tissues of the low back.

Leaning forward overloads the discs through compression, leaning back tends to stretch the tissues in the front of the discs and the ligament that attach to them. In the short term this rests the muscles of the back, in the long term it weakens them.

All the bits that make up the body have to work together, and that is best done by getting all the bits to work.

When you can get up and walk.

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