Don’t get me wrong, supportive chairs are very comfy. They are certainly preferable to leaning into and sitting in less supportive options. However, if you’re going to rely on that chair to completely support your body for an extended period of time, there are some hidden consequences. For all the advances in ergonomic design I’ve seen over the years in both materials and in the appreciation of force distribution to the low back, pelvis and hips, there is still a pretty big elephant in the room.
The more supported your body is and the longer it is held in a static position, the less resilient and more injury prone your body becomes. It’s a simple fact with big implications. This is because your brain requires a constant influx of information from your body tissues. It uses this information to activate, coordinate and plan a countless number of micro movements and actions to support multiple structures along the spine and throughout the upper and lower limbs.
When we sit for long hours, even in the fanciest chair available, we move further and further away from our innate ability to self regulate the forces acting on our body and to adjust accordingly.
So what’s the best option? The easy answer…variety. I’m not saying go throw out your 300$ office chair, I’m saying you’ve got to build more opportunities into your life for your brain to receive novel information from your body. An effective way to create this opportunity for movement is to work from a “transitional” or standing desk. This is not to say that standing is better than sitting. NO PROLONGED POSTURE is good! It’s the environment that should encourage movement because movement is a form of nutrition for the brain and body.