ChairsDear Chair,
Fuck you.
-All of us.

The Chair is a Slow and Silent Killer
Is it fair to say that “sitting is the new smoking?” That’s probably an over-generalization, and a bit of a stretch.
Is sitting making the # of years we live and the quality of those years decrease? Yes, definitely.

Many people fear things like sharks and flying on airplanes. Look at statistics though; Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are exponentially more dangerous.

Stress is a big part of these, and can be broken down into 2 primary types–Physical & Psychological.

These are both spectrums, rather than binary. You need enough stress to stimulate growth and adaptation, but not so much that it chronically inflames the system.

For example, playing music would be a good psychological stress, whereas spending all day writing emails might be a “bad” psychological stress. Exercise is a good physical stress while not getting enough sleep or training to the point of injury would be a “bad” physical stress.

A Double Whammy of Bad Stress
While in a chair you are simultaneously deteriorating physically and likely engaging in some mind-numbing activity, whether that is mundane work, social media, or television.

Dear TV,
Fuck you, too.

Okay back to the chair, because I can only tackle one major lifestyle change today.
chairs disease
Chair Pros:

  • Makes sitting possible for people who can’t sit on floor
  • Some chairs are very comfortable

Chair Cons:

  • Destroys flexibility
  • Promotes poor posture
  • Blood pools in lower extremities
  • Increased Psychological Stress
  • Decreased (in a bad way) Physical Stress

The list could go on, and there is a myriad of studies showing the significant increases in heart disease and diabetes that go along with prolonged sitting.

Ditch the Chair
I would argue that if you sat the same amount, but not in a chair, it would significantly increase your wellbeing.

Some advantages to not sitting in a chair include encouraging posture changes and exploring different positions that enhance flexibility. There are some terrific chair alternatives to get your body right.

1. Kneeling. This can be magic for improving the function of the hips and core. (I wrote an entire article about kneeling here)

2. The 90-90 position. It is a cornerstone of the 5 Minute Flow Flexibility Program, and for good reason–it’s awesome. Major win for hip mobility since it offers several variations that make your hips and spine happy.

3. Chair Substitutes:

  • A Wall
  • Pillows
  • Yoga Blocks

Ultimately, I believe your longevity is based on how you interact with the ground. If you can hang out comfortably and move with agility while on the ground, you’re likely going to live a long time. Bonus if you can get up and down off of the floor easily (Get-ups anyone?).

Don’t punish yourself with hours upon hours of chair sitting, liberate yourself and improve your relationship with the ground beneath you.

Better every day,

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7 thoughts on “F#@& YOU CHAIR

  • Sue

    To Nick,

    Varidesk. I’ve had mine for a year and I love it. Yes it’s a bit pricey but really well made.

  • Nick

    Hi Max,

    I’m curious how you handle avoiding sitting when you need to do computer work? What is your set up? I try to stand as much as possible but know I need to bring in more variation. When my family sits down at the tv, I always want to be stretching but feel it comes with a horrible stigma and strange looks. I guess I just need to man up and flip them the bird.

  • Ray Krumme

    I’m a very physically fit 39 year old dentist. What do you recommend as a substitute for sitting. I’m assuming standing would be the only one. Any other chair substitutes that could be considered?

  • meera

    hi max
    good article, I am lucky to have a job with a lot of standing in the lab. I used to sit on a stool in the lab, but nowadays i just stand and walk around the whole time and have no discomfort from standing ‘so long’. I was considering having a floor desk in my home office, where i would sit either kneeling or cross legged. is a standing desk better than sitting on the floor. My room is compact and a floor desk can be easilly tucked under, whereas a standing desk will take up more room. any thoughts?

  • Nick

    I spend a fair bit of time in front of my computer and am realizing more and more just how much grief it really causes. My hips are horribly tight and currently most of my five minute flows are hip mobility.
    I have been looking at either a standing desk or one of those kneeling chairs. Any thoughts?