How did we come to sit?
Maybe, a long time ago some trendy early human
had a brilliant idea
of sitting on a tree stump
or a rock
instead of squatting
as everybody else did. And maybe this looked cool to some of the other members and soon they all began to adopt sitting on their behinds to keep up with the trend
and be fashionable
The fact is that sitting is counter productive in terms of structural/physical health and the level of activity that we humans are designed to maintain. Let's review the facts:
- Weight bearing. In upright posture, the weight of the body and any force that is exerted on the upper body is transferred through the pelvis and sacrum into the legs and into the ground. As a result of this transfer of weight into the ground, standing up is the next best thing to lying down for the spine.
- In a seated position, the weight bearing stops at the pelvis and sacrum and the amount of stress placed on the spinal discs increases significantly. To make matters worse, with every inch of translation of the trunk to the front, i.e., bending or slouching, the pressure inside the spinal discs increases. This increase continues in an exponential manner. That is 2, 4, 8, 16 times....etc. Therefore, micro-trauma occurs more frequently in the spinal discs and overall spinal degeneration progresses faster with sitting.
- Squatting is the natural form for relieving stress from upright posture and movement. If we look at young children, we see that they squat naturally when they want to sit while playing on the ground. Squatting allows the transfer of weight from the pelvis, the sacrum and lower extremities into the ground. The back also assumes a flexed posture that stretches the back muscles and soft tissue, relieving the tension that was built in them. Psychologically, squatting simulates a fetal position that provides a feeling of security. Our established personal, public and corporate/business environments can not accommodate squatting as an alternative to sitting on a chair. Besides, squatting for long periods of time becomes very uncomfortable because:
- Our muscles and soft tissue, after becoming used to sitting in a chair, are not conditioned to maintain and tolerate squatting easily. Squatting can be done, but one needs muscle reconditioning to accommodate this position.
- Even squatting, which is a natural position, is only meant for short periods of rest between long periods of mobility and activity. Long periods of squatting become uncomfortable, even if one is conditioned to do so.
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