Three Options For Sitting at Your Desk


sitting at your deskSitting at your desk shouldn’t be how how you spend the majority of your time. But maybe it is and that’s just the way it is going to be. If that is the case, figuring out how to physically get by in a modern world where the deck is stacked against our bodies is a worthwhile pursuit.
Pick your poison—car seats, kitchen chairs, office chairs, couches— not one of these accoutrements are designed to connect a human being to healthy living.
B
ut many of us love to do things involving all of these objects. I know I do. I love driving but I have yet to sit in a car that was made for me to sit in it.

If you are sitting at your desk as you read this are you slumped in your office chair like I am?  I spend a great deal of time in front of my computer and it would be nice to think that because I teach posture I always maintain good posture but this isn’t the case. Out of every hour in front of the machine I probably sit well for about ten minutes, give or take.

Moving on, the couch and me have a long and loving relationship as well, etc etc.

So how are we going to resolve the conundrum of how debilitating the implements of work and play can be and our need to make extensive use of these implements.

For todays post we’ll look at life spent sitting at your desk.

If you are going to spend the day at a computer why not mix it up and use three different approaches to your working life.

  • A chair
  • A Ball
  • A standing desk

A desk chair is a fine thing to use. A good desk chair is better to use than a bad desk chair but it is all relative as a chair will not force you to sit correctly. That is up to you.

sitting at your desk

 

At this moment I am sitting in my extremely high end Herman Miller Aeron Chair. This is “the” chair. Voted the Chair of the Millennium (I kid you not), and is a fixture in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

And yet, my desktop is in the shop so I am using a laptop on my desk and the monitor is almost a foot lower than my other monitor so my head is a mess tilting down to see what I am writing. My butt is no where near the back of the chair so my lumbar is taking no advantage of the wonderful lumbar support. One foot is up on my desk as the other sits on the floor.

It might be a great chair but there is nothing great about the way I am sitting in it. But for a third of my working day maybe I could get away with it.

sitting at your desk

An inflated exercise ball is a great option to offset a chair. I used to have one that sat in a stand on wheels and actually had a back but I found it to be too solid and would invariably end up leaning into the back. Once I got rid of the stand I loved the free moving ball.

Finally, the newfangled thing is standing desks which I am instinctively a fan of. The problem with a standing desk is similar to the chair issue. If you don’t stand well a standing desk will end be being as bad or worse than an office chair.

sitting at your desk

While standing desks tend to run towards the expensive, I have a client who created a very effective one with $30 worth of goods from Ikea. It might be worth giving it a try.

Spending some time each day in each of these options strikes me as a smart way to spend your day. Two sessions with each option in rotation could keep your body moving and shifting enough so as too minimize the effects of sitting in one position all day long.

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4 Comments
  1. I got a balance disk for my desk chair at home. It looks sort of like a tiny bosu. I find it more stable than a balance ball, it can be removed when others use the chair, and it takes up less room than my ball did. It gives my core constant work while i’m online. My 3 YO granddaughter had made up lots of fun ways to play with it as well.

  2. Hi Jonathan! I met you in Yogamaya’s summer intensive teacher training this summer – love keeping up with your blog! 🙂

    I’m in the interior architecture business, and my firm used to all have Aeron chairs for our own staff to sit on. I don’t personally care for them myself (I don’t find the back support to be substantial and I don’t like that the mesh seat is bordered by hard plastic – I prefer a soft surface for the backs of my knees to rest on) but they sure do beat your average task chair. I wanted to share with you the new chair that our company is slowly replacing our Aerons with – Steelcase’s brand new Gesture chair. The idea behind them is that no existing chairs have been designed with the wide array of technology used these days and their associated postures in mind. So they did a workplace study to deduce which postures workers are in when using a laptop, a computer, a tablet, a smartphone, etc. A few of postures they came up with are maybe a little bit… far-fetched, as I think they were trying to hit a certain number of postures and had to fill up the list. But regardless, I am super happy with my Gesture chair. It is super adjustable (very easily) and it’s really a one-size-fits-all-chair – the biggest of the big dudes and the littlest of the little ladies are comfortable in it. They have a showroom in New York, maybe go check it out! Here is the brochure if you’re interested: http://www.steelcase.com/en/products/category/seating/task/gesture/documents/gesture_brochure.pdf

    Incidentally, we are encouraging clients to choose sit/stand worksurfaces, and are seeing definite interest. We just installed many of them in our own office and are seeing people go out of their way to use them!

    Take care!
    Abigail

    • Hi Mona, The picture at the top was a random but I actually think her posture is pretty dead on. The back doesn’t rest when on the ball which is why I like it so much. There is a tiny bit of constant rest and action that keeps the core in a good working order which to me makes it feel secure.

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