There have been a few articles over the last few years which talk about the dangers of sitting, and comparing sitting to smoking. Here is a word in defence of sitting.
While there is no such thing as healthy smoking, there is such a thing as healthy sitting. It is possible to sit comfortably for long periods of time without causing harm or damage. And while you can’t learn to smoke healthily, you can certainly learn to sit healthily and comfortably. Children do this naturally – it is built in to our design as humans to be upright easily. But unfortunately most children lose this ability when they grow up, leading many to think that we are not designed to sit for long periods of time.
The problem isn’t sitting, the problem is sitting badly. Most of us slump and collapse when seated, or perhaps overarch and sit too upright. Neither of these positions is good for our bodies, and neither is a sensible way to sit long term. But it is possible to learn to sit well again, to learn to get the body working as it once did when we were children and had the ability to sit upright easily.
Sitting should not be compared to smoking. A better analogy would be diet. Eating poorly will cause harm or damage to our bodies, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid eating – a good diet will contribute to our health, not damage it. The same applies to sitting. If done sensibly and thoughtfully, it will similarly contribute to our health and not damage it. Instead of compressing and squashing our bodies every time we sit, we will be allowing the space our bodies need to function efficiently.
The Alexander Technique teaches people to be upright comfortably, whether sitting or standing. It shows people that there is such a thing as good sitting, and it teaches them how to learn this. Wouldn’t it be better to sit comfortably whenever you wished, rather than see sitting as something to be avoided?