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    Conner P.'s Avatar
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    Slouching in chairs

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    While sitting waiting to get my hair cut today, I had a profound thought. Everyone is always saying how slouching is bad for your spine, but what if it our body trying to get our hips closer to a standing position? Go sit down upright and look at you hips. Then slouch and look at your hips again. They look alot closer to how they do when you are standing. Hmm....

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    jfreaksho's Avatar
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    I've always wondered that too, but you also have other issues caused by that, such as forward neck posture. I slouch all the time, but I don't think it's anything I should be doing.

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    The best way to sit in a chair is to recline. That is what puts your body somewhat like standing. But you still need to get up and move around frequently.
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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conner P. View Post
    While sitting waiting to get my hair cut today, I had a profound thought. Everyone is always saying how slouching is bad for your spine, but what if it our body trying to get our hips closer to a standing position? Go sit down upright and look at you hips. Then slouch and look at your hips again. They look alot closer to how they do when you are standing. Hmm....
    It's probably more a case of people spontaneously moving towards the lying position. In truth we should probably do more of that throughout the day. If you lie on the floor with your head on 2 or 3 paperbook books (the height varies for different people) and your knees drawn up for 20 minutes or so the intervertebral discs get a chance to swell again (among a number of other beneficial physiological adjustments).

    It really isn't ideal to slouch. And with a chair, the back provides a kind of stimulus to lean against it. From this point of view, a stool is probably better; a high stool which allows the knees to be lower than the hips can be more comfortable.

    However, slouching is only one side of it: it's just as bad to sit in a rigidly upright manner. There's an analogue with standing: collapsed standing with rounded shoulders is obviously not good, but a "military" standing with the chest pushed out and the back hyperextended is productive of strain, too.

    In truth you can neither sit nor stand upright by force.

    You can experience this kinaesthetically with the Alexander Technique. It's a difficult thing to explain, but a revelation when it's experienced in the body. In an Alexander Technique lesson what the teacher does is to help you release where you're holding in the muscles, and when you do that you simply are more upright—but without strain. You can't hold yourself up. Sitting a lot to do with how you get down into the chair: most people in our society have developed habits of contracting muscles in ways they don't need to do simply to sit down, so they never actually get into a chair with their full height in the first place.

    Some day I mean to get a copy of The Chair, which is a history of chairs and sitting by a lady who is both an Alexander Technique teacher and a professor of architecture:

    Amazon.com: The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body, and Design (9780393319552): Galen Cranz: Books

    These days horse-riding is sometimes used for the disabled. That's good for their posture, because it tends to encourage them to be more upright, but again there's no strain—it's a consequence of balancing. It's more an uncurling as you let go a bit more.

    I think it would be better if our lifestyle meant we occasionally sat on banks or boulders (or simply the ground) but not for too long and that were interspersed with getting up and wandering around. And whenever we felt tired we could actually lie down ... which you can't in the office.

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    js290's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conner P. View Post
    While sitting waiting to get my hair cut today, I had a profound thought. Everyone is always saying how slouching is bad for your spine, but what if it our body trying to get our hips closer to a standing position? Go sit down upright and look at you hips. Then slouch and look at your hips again. They look alot closer to how they do when you are standing. Hmm....

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