We’ve been taught to sit since our elementary days. Sitting for long hours in a classroom was only the beginning as we grew up and joined the workforce where a large majority of us would continue sitting for the bulk of our days. From the office, to driving a car, to eating meals, and lounging on the couch we spend our days in seats, paving the path for back pain to saunter into our lives.
Sitting for excessive periods of time is unnatural. Do you ever wonder why walking came so naturally to us as little kids? In fact, one of the first skills we learn is how to walk! No matter how outrageous it sounds there is a proper technique to walking, explained here by male model and fitness expert Roger Frampton. In the modern era, however, walking feels abnormal. We have cars. We have buses. It’s not typical to use walking as a regular mode of transportation and so we don’t practice proper posture and walking techniques. Of course, the way you walk says a lot about your health according to experts. For example, walking without much arm swing indicates that the spine isn’t being properly supported and lower back pain is probably an issue or will be soon.
Over the years we’ve lost the importance of proper posture and good walking habits simply because we don’t do it enough. Instead, we sit. Back pain while sitting is a common occurrence because we’re unknowingly restructuring a very important piece of the puzzle when we sit too long.
As the old Chinese Proverb says, “You are as old as your spine.” Children’s bodies are agile and seemingly full of boundless energy. That’s not only because of their age, but also because of their spines. As we grow up and spend more time in seats and less time walking our spines gradually slip out of shape. An acupuncturist from California, Esther Gokhale, spent a decade studying indigenous cultures and why back pain is practically nonexistent in their communities. She found that these people, like children, had a J-shaped spine. In American adults it is much more common to find an S-shaped spine, but Gokhale’s findings supported that those with J-shapes didn’t have back pain. Our spines are literally deforming themselves and that is why back pain while sitting has become such a huge problem in our society.
So, what can you do about it? Expand your environment of course! We can’t just give up using desks for work or school, but we can change the type of desks we use to promote a healthy lifestyle and good posture. Use Standing Desks in schools to instill good habits in children from a young age, while also focusing on academics and learning. Alternatively, use them in the office to encourage employees that their health is as important as completing their work. If employees complain about back pain while sitting shake things up and let them stand (bonus points: we bet attendance will increase too).
At Stand2Learn we can’t express enough how important standing and living an active lifestyle is. Our Standing Desks make it easier than ever to commit to your health and take notice of the benefits associated with standing and walking, which includes improved creative thinking. Please contact us if you have additional questions or would like to learn more about our Standing Desks.