It’s not an alarmist question. In the 1950s, British researchers discovered an alarming fact.
People who drove buses tended to have twice as many heart attacks as the bus conductors who collected the money on those buses.
They had similar backgrounds, social classes, ethnicities, etc. the only difference between the two groups was that bus drivers sit down all day long.
There are two major areas of concern when it comes to people’s health and their chairs.
Sitting Down Is Deadly
The first is that the act of sitting down appears to be deadly. This is not some sort of alarmist posturing.
Study after study shows that people who lead sedentary lifestyles are more likely to put on weight, more likely to suffer from serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and are more likely to die early.
This is a big problem. You see once you get into the habit of sitting at a desk all day long, your body adapts to it and it does so badly.
The collagen around your joints, tendons and ligaments becomes harder because you’re not moving.
The muscles in your torso get weaker because you’re not using them and this makes it more likely that you will injure yourself when exercising or lifting or bending.
And even your leg bones become weaker and blood tends to settle in the lower legs which can cause varicose veins and even lead to blood clots, which can kill.
Ergonomics Matter Too
Then there’s the issue of ergonomics. A badly designed chair or one that has not been adjusted to your body, can cause real health issues too.
When you’re forced into an uncomfortable position all day long, it takes a toll on the muscles and joints.
You’re more likely to suffer from a bad back or painful leg joints, it can also worsen conditions like lymphedema.
So, How Do I Stop My Chair From Killing Me?
This is a very important question. In fact, if you remember our 1950s bus drivers? In 2015, researchers went back to look at their health again and the picture was not pretty.
They were still hugely at risk of heart attacks due to their sedentary lives and this was because not much had changed in the life of a bus driver in the last 60 years.
If you want to be healthier, it requires action on your part and there are two things that you must do if you want to stop your chair from killing you.
- Ensure that your chair is ergonomically suited to you. We always recommend that people spend as much as they can on an office chair for their home office. You want a chair that can be adjusted to the curves and contours of your body. And then you need to adjust it so that it does. If you don’t know how to do this – consider hiring an ergonomics consultant for an hour if you’re self-employed or ask your employer to get someone to help you with this. This will dramatically reduce the risk of stress or strain injuries on your body.
- Start exercising. Sorry, we know this is advice nobody really wants to hear. But factually, just walking around for a 10 minute period every couple of hours can help to slow down the damage done to you by sitting. And if you could spend just one hour a day doing some mild exercise, you will find that you can counteract all the downsides of sitting all day long.
You’re probably wondering if you should buy a standing desk too?
We think that there are definitely benefits from owning a standing desk but it’s not a substitute for the two actions above.
As you can see in our article on how many calories you burn when using a standing desk – it’s not as significant as we might hope.
Is your home office chair killing you? It’s entirely possible.
Fortunately, you can cut down on the damage by taking an hour a day to exercise and by buying a better home office chair.
If you need a new office chair then take a look at our guide to the different types of office chairs and then our guide on the best sustainable home office chairs and finally, check to see if you can get a tax deduction on your home office chair too.