As I was deciding what to write this for this week’s blog post I googled “Sitting is the new smoking”. This term has become pretty common place in the last five years and I was curious to know what people are saying about it today. Does it hold up- is sitting in fact the new smoking or has this theory been disproved?
The results of my quick google search were disturbing to say the least. It seemed like every hit on google were articles or video content whose main purpose was to scare the living daylights out of all of us.
Here are some of my top favorite pull quotes from the first page of google hits.:
"Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting.”
“We are sitting ourselves to death.”
“Sitting is the most underrated health-threat of modern time.”
“Researchers found that sitting more than six hours in a day will greatly increase your risk of an early death.”
And the piece de resistance... a book titled: “Get Off Your Ass And Do Something” that you can get for free off Amazon if you have kindle.
Holy toledo- it’s all such dramatic, do-or-die language! Sitting is more treacherous than parachuting?! You’re trying to tell me that sitting at my desk right now and writing this post is putting me more at risk than jumping out of a PLANE????????
The use of scare tactics in these articles made me curious (and a little angry), so I dove in deeper and deeper down the google search blackhole. The more I read the more life or death the language seemed to get and the more questions I was left with.
Why are these blogs and publications insisting on scaring us so much? Is it just click bait or is it true? Am I really dying as I sit here writing this? Is there any truth to it at all? Should I be writing scary posts to get more people to read my blog???
I took a break to stretch my legs, because now I was suddenly convinced I was going to die if I didn’t. On my walk I began to think about sitting in the only way that truly made sense to me… in terms of food.
Sitting is less like smoking and more like carbs...
Everybody knows that you can’t solely live off of carbs, that would be insane! I mean, great in theory- pasta and bagels for every meal is as a delicious proposition as sitting all day and being pushed in a stroller while you run your errands. The truth of the matter is that in either of these scenarios you’d very quickly make yourself sick. But...do we have to cut either of them out completely?
It’s the age old food pyramid question- are we able to balance out our carb consumption (hours spent sitting) with a serving of protein (standing) and vegetables (walking) throughout the day or must we stay away from it all together in order to be really, truly healthy?
Let’s for a moment go back to the original analogy and imagine that sitting really is the new smoking. How do we quit? What is the nicotine patch of the sitting world? We can’t just quit sitting cold turkey- we’ve got to drive our cars, go to the movies, spend some cozy time on our couches, get work done… and that’s when yet another analogy struck me.
The kneeling chair is the vape pen of the sitting world.
Think about it! It’s more active than the right angle chair, it keeps your core engaged in ways regular right angle chairs can’t, it gives you mobility and a more upright posture. It’s close enough to regular sitting that we are still able to go about our days without much disruption and it gives us the same sensation as the habits we’re used to that are quote unquote KILLING US.
Sure, it’s controversial and people question the legitimacy of it, but it’s without question better than the alternative- right angle chairs. It makes it easier to find balance (pun intended), it pairs well with an adjustable standing desk, it gives you different options for posture, and it still looks pretty cool (although let it be stated for the record that smoking is not cool, kids).
I am such a believer in the “everything in moderation” ideal. All these internet articles that say sitting more than 6 hours a day is greatly increasing our risk of early death…. well, personally I think they are full of bologna. One article said that if you sit all day while you work it will take over TWO HOURS a day of intense exercising to counteract all that sitting. Who is working a full day at the office, getting groceries, doing laundry, having a social life AND working out two hours everyday? I’m for sure not, nor do I feel like I have to.
I do workout regularly for one hour a day, I walk 10,000 steps a day (or more if I’m really out and about), I get up and walk around every hour or so, and I sit. I sit when I work, I sit when I eat, I sit when there’s a free seat on the subway, I sit and catch up on my fave netflix shows.
I BALANCE IT OUT.
And this is not a “Oh, I only smoke at social events” sort of thing, it’s more of a “Yeah, of course I order the pancakes at brunch” sort of thing. It’s certainly not a “Oh yes, I jump out of a plane every day.” sort of thing
The main point of all these insane analogies that I’ve crafted is that sitting while you work is probably not shortening your life as the internet it trying to convince us it is. It’s going to be just fine as long as you work to balance it out. You don’t need to go to extreme measures to stay healthy, you just need to find what works for you. What makes your body feel good? What makes you most productive? It could very well be working out for two hours every day, or maybe it’s the use of a kneeling chair, or just taking short walks periodically to stretch.
How can we figure out a way to get creative with our sitting habits to make it better for us (a low carb option if you will!)??
Lately we’ve had a ton of really cool feedback about how some of you guys are using our chairs to balance the time you’re spending seated.
One customer wrote to us to tell us they are now able to meditate longer than they’ve been able to for the last few decades, thanks to our Austin chair. They said that they were getting so stiff from sitting on the floor that they’d always end up losing their concentration. They’ve since switched to meditating in a kneeling chair and now look forward to getting to meditate for longer!
We’ve had pregnant customers say that they started doing everything in our kneeling chairs! Eating meals, watching TV, rocking and breast feeding their new arrivals. The pelvic tilt helped them be comfortable before and after delivery- that sort of feedback is amazing to us.
Any hobbies or professions that are done seated are now being done in Sleekform chairs too! Artists, illustrators, gamers, musicians, editors, music producers- you name it!
What’s also so cool is how people are using it to compliment their standing set up. We have heard from so many people who are working on finding that sit/stand balance by pairing our chair with their adjustable standing desk. We are always so blown away by the creative ways you are seeking alternatives to how society has always done things. We are thrilled to play even a small part in that.
Our goal with this blog is not to scare you into using one of our chairs. It’s to help you figure out what’s going on in your body and working towards finding balance- and also to ask a lot questions and create dumb analogies to help you be able to process all the crazy claims that are out there. We have to take all the information and headlines we are constantly being bombarded with, with a grain of salt or else we’ll just end up living our whole lives in fear that we’re going to die if we take a load off and relax. We hope that by featuring our customers and how they are getting creative with sitting we can teach and exchange information that contributes to the dialogue in a productive and fun way!
What are you currently doing to keep that sitting/ moving balance? Do you think you need more movement in your day? Do you feel like you're jumping out of a plane every time you take a seat? Let us know- we'd love to help!
Also, please link us to the most absurd article you can find about the risks of sitting- we are living for this content.