It has been both scientifically proven and experimentally shown that conventional sitting leads to health problems. In this text Sanna Hakala, M.Sc., Physiotherapist, explains why conventional sitting is dangerous.
Conventional sitting contains numerous health related problems. The most familiar is the musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), which can occur for example as low back pain, shoulder pain, or headache. Leaning into a back rest of an office chair makes the core muscles passive, and stresses lower back. The most usual posture of an office worker contains a rounded lumbar spine, forward rotated shoulders and an extended neck. The typical 90 degree angles in the hip and knee joints force the posture to slouch and make joints feel stiff.
Unbalanced posture stresses all the tissues in our body, as muscles, bones and ligaments are working outside their comfort zone. Think about the famous Pisa tower: when the foundations collapse, the whole building is out of balance. The basis of our sitting posture is the position of our pelvis. Maintaining the good position of the pelvis while keeping the feet in front would require more strength than the hip flexor muscles can produce. Sitting feet in the front disables the correct position of pelvis.
Cartilages start to age already in our 20s
Other musculoskeletal conditions are joint problems. A cartilage, that covers the bony surfaces of the joint as a protection, doesn´t have sufficient blood circulation. The metabolism of joints is based on “sponge-effect”: when the joint is loaded, the nutritional liquids squeeze out from the cartilage, and when unloaded the liquids squeeze in. When the joint is in a stable position for a long time, the metabolism decreases, which fastens degeneration. Degeneration starts at the age of 20 in every cartilage, so it is good to take care of the joints already at young age.
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Conventional sitting forces the position to slouch, and contains numerous health-related problems.
Pressure causes risks to the genital area
Constant pressure to the pelvic area disturbs blood circulation and compresses nerves, causing numbness that may result in problems in the intimate life of both men and women, because of the decreased sensation in the genital area. Because of the pressure it causes, conventional sitting has been proven to be a risk of prostate problems, such as cancer.
Sitting feet on the side rather than in front of the body allows the pelvis to be set up correctly. It is essential that the saddle chair has a gap in the middle, otherwise the correct position of the pelvis is too uncomfortable to get and maintain. The gap is there to prevent pressure on the most sensitive part in our body.
Good posture on a saddle chair provides health and energy
The way of sitting has an enormous effect on wellbeing, work performance, quality of life, and also the life expectancy. Sitting higher to open the circulation channels, loading the joints to promote joint health, positioning the pelvis in a way that the spinal curves are neutral, and having no pressure on the pelvic floor, are all enabled by a saddle chair with a two-part seat.
On a saddle chair the spine automatically has its neutral curves, discs are evenly loaded which prevents prolapses, and the big muscles don´t need to work to maintain the balance. When the big muscles are not working, the core muscles have space to activate. The back is not stressed everyday by an unhealthy load.
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Saddle chair with a two-part seat enables the correct setting of pelvis, which automatically results in a good posture.
Choose energy and wellbeing instead of health risks
Higher sitting position opens the hip and knee joints to 135 degrees, which is proven to be optimal for the joint health and also enables the correct setting of pelvis. Because of the higher sitting level, also the desk needs to be height adjustable to prevent leaning forward or sitting too low.
In addition, when sitting on a saddle chair, the important sponge-effect helps the joints to maintain metabolism on a good level. The joints are not stiff even after long periods of sitting on a saddle chair. The wide angle of hip joints also allows circulation to flow freely. The lower limbs are not swollen at the end of the day, and the risk of a fatal embolism has decreased.
Good position of the upper body allows the digestive system to work properly, and breathing becomes easier as the costal ribcage doesn´t block the lungs and they have space to enlarge. Well working digestion and free breathing means a more energetic feeling without headaches or constipation.