If you are anything like me, you likely spend the majority of your day confined to a chair. If not an office/desk chair then something else that keeps you stationary. I’m now in my late 30s, work a lot (I actually love what I do) and depend entirely on some kind of computing device, whether it be my mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Simply put, I would not be able to do what I do without sitting for the amount of time that I do. What’s the impact? Aside from the fact that I get stuff done, my body has taken a royal beating during the past 20 years from this “sedentary work lifestyle”.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, “sedentary jobs have risen by 83% since 1950, and today, 86% of workers sit all day”. The average work day is now 10 hours, and at least 8 of these hours are spent sitting. So what? Well… the lack of movement affects vascular reactivity and blood glucose regulation — what this means in plain English is that this method of working may lead to a plethora of medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, thrombosis, obesity, various forms of cancer and stroke, to name a few. Not things I want to experience during my lifetime! These consequences are long-term, and the more immediate consequences, ones that I have experienced first-hand include chronic discomfort, pain and tiredness in my back, shoulders, neck, head, eyes and legs. Aside from immobility at work, I am sure that I practice horrible posture, and do not have my equipment (e.g. computer screen, mouse, chair, etc…) arranged in optimal positions. Plus, throw in my mild scoliosis, and multiple sports injuries during my adolescent years from basketball, football, baseball, hockey and snowboarding, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that continuing down this path could lead to significant and irreparable damage to my body.
The Impact of Sitting Too Much? Watch This…
Because I work in HR one of the things that I have spent a great deal of time and effort on is ergonomics in the workplace. This phenomenon is actually several hundreds of years old, but has only gained popularity during the past 20+ years. The reason? The personal computer. I am acutely aware of the negative consequences associated with poor ergonomics, and not only have trained people on their basics, I have personally tried many different things to alleviate the discomfort in my back and neck, primarily. However, nothing has really worked, and that is because the core issue is that regardless of what I do from an ergonomics standpoint I still remain inactive, immobile and stagnant. I’m NOT moving!!
Enter disruption of “the chair”…
I’m a geek when it comes to new technology, as I love trying new mobile apps and platforms. I was recently introduced to a company called CoreChair, which has set out to revolutionize the impact of using chairs while at work. When I heard that it was going to help solve the core problems associated with sitting all day, I immediately rolled my eyes in typical fashion. Nothing that I have tried to date has worked, including standing desks, bouncy balls, and ultra-expensive Herman Miller chairs. The fact of the matter remained that the lack of movement was the root cause of my problem.
Check out their pitch on Dragon’s Den…
I reluctantly gave CoreChair a try, and to be honest, I was very skeptical. From an optics perspective it really didn’t look like anything revolutionary, except for when I started using it. I have been using it while at work and the impact has been amazing. My chronic discomfort and pain in my back, shoulders and neck have been drastically reduced, and I honestly feel far more mobile, limber and loose.
Now, there is a ton of research, information and statistics about the CoreChair that you can find on their website, and I encourage you to spend some time and evaluate for yourself. However, the fact of the matter is that the idea of active sitting makes a ton of sense, and I truly believe that a chair like CoreChair’s positive impact to productivity, personal well-being and healthy lives will be infinite. After all, has anything to date really helped solve the growing negative consequences of sitting at work? I have seen first-hand what this style of work has done to me, and to be honest, it scares the hell out of me if I jump in a time-machine forward 20 years. If I stay in the line of work that I am in now, I do NOT see how I will be able to reduce the number of hours I spend in a given week sitting. So, what am I going to do about it? I need to do whatever possible to remain active while working, even during those many hours spent in front of my laptop. I would give CoreChair a shot — what do you have to lose, other than your health?
Hey Jeff, I love my CoreChair, it allows me to move while sitting and I find I am more productive during my day and I no longer suffer with hip pain like I did with my old computer chair.